Saturday, June 18, 2011

Carrot Cake

Happy Father's Day Weekend Dabblers! Today I am sharing my Father's Day present and a wonderful recipe for Carrot Cake. This cake is one of the most requested things I make and I have had a few requests for the enjoy making this at home :)

I love this recipe because it is hearty and moist. It is also relatively healthy, as cakes go. It has 2 cups of carrots, pineapple, coconut, nuts and is made with whole wheat pastry flour. It's still cake...but, have a second piece and feel fabulous about it.

Carrot Cake

Ingredients for the Cake:
-1 20 oz can of crushed pineapple, in %100 pineapple juice
-2 c whole wheat pastry flour
-2 tsp baking soda
-1/2 tsp fine ground sea salt
-2 tsp cinnamon
-3 eggs
-1 1/2 c light brown sugar
-3/4 c buttermilk
-1/2 c coconut oil
-2 tsp vanilla
-2 c shredded carrots
-1 c coconut flakes
-1/2 c chopped walnuts

Ingredients for Frosting:
-2 8 oz packages cream cheese, at room temperature
-2 c heavy whipping cream
-1/2 c powdered sugar
-zest and juice of 1 lemon

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Liberally butter and flour 3 8" cake pans.
3. Drain crushed pineapple and reserve 1/4 c juice.
4. In a medium-sized bowl, sift flour, sea salt, baking soda and cinnamon.
5. In a large bowl, stir together eggs, brown sugar, buttermilk, coconut oil, vanilla and reserved 1/4 c of pineapple juice until incorporated.
6. Stir in pineapple, carrots, coconut and walnuts until incorporated.
7. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until incorporated.
8. Evenly distribute batter between 3 cake pans.
9. Bake until the center of the cake is set.
10. Remove pans from oven and allow to cool completely.
11. Prepare frosting. Beat together cream cheese, heavy cream, powdered sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice.
12. Frost and assemble cake. Top with extra coconut and walnuts.
13. Serve and enjoy!

Pictures and Tips:

Step 2. Liberally butter the cake pans. This will make removing the cake from the pans easier. To flour the pans, sprinkle a little bit of flour into the pan and lightly tap the pan to spread the flour around. Rotate the pan in your hands to coat the edges.

Step 3. I use a hand strainer to drain the pineapple. Press down on the crushed pineapple to get the juice out. It is important to get as much juice out as possible, so you don't throw off the ratio of wet ingredients to dry ingredients.

Step 4. As I have said in previous posts, sift your dry ingredients. It incorporates the dry ingredients together and lightens everything up. I use a hand strainer to sift as well...a very versatile kitchen tool.

*Note: Here is a picture of the whole wheat pastry flour I used in this recipe. I have seen this product or similar ones in most grocery stores. The flour is finely ground, which creates a better texture for baking. This is a great thing to substitute into your baking recipes if you are trying to eat more whole grains or fiber.

Step 5. Use a large rounded spatula or spoon to stir together the wet ingredients. I stir these together before adding anything else to ensure the eggs and sugar are mixed in well.

Step 6. Add the pineapple, carrots, coconut and walnuts. This is where the batter starts to get chunky in appearance. It may not resemble your average cake batter, but stick with it. You just added the deliciousness to this cake.

Step 7. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet.

Here is a picture of what my batter looks like at this step.

Step 8. Pour the batter into the pans. Spread it around in an even layer using a rubber spatula.

Step 8 & 9. Bake the cakes until their centers are set. You can test this by lightly shaking the pans...if the middle is jiggly, they are not done. Allow the cakes to cool completely to room temperature. If you try to frost them while they are still warm, the frosting will melt and slide right off.

Step 10. Make the frosting. Using an electric hand or stand mixer, beat the cream cheese until it passes easily through the beaters.

Add the heavy whipping cream and beat until you can start to see the "wake" of the beaters. For some reason, the process of whipping cream has always reminded me of the wake created behind a boat.

Add the powdered sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest and beat until soft peaks form.

Step 10. Frost and Assemble. Place the first cake round onto a cake plate and line the edges with parchment paper. This will give you a clean presentation after frosting.

Apply a thin layer of frosting to the top of the first layer.

Place the second layer on top of the first and repeat with the remaining layer.

Frost the top and edges of the cake. You don't have to be super fancy with the will be covered with walnuts and coconut.

Using your hand, press chopped walnuts around the edge of the cake. Sprinkle the top of the cake with shredded coconut. I garnished the top of the cake with a few curls of carrot. To make these run a peeler down the length of a carrot and arrange them as you like. I placed a walnut in the center to finish the whole thing off. I like garnishes that give a sneak peak of what is inside the cake :)

Step 12. Serve and enjoy!

This cake is heading for the best Dad in the world, but it is great for any occasion...last year it made a great birthday cake for my brother. This recipe also makes cute cupcakes if you are serving a crowd. You could sprinkle the top of each cupcake with shredded coconut and one whole walnut.

Enjoy this recipe. I would love to know how it turns out for you. Happy Father's Day to all the great dads out there.

Thanks for visiting,

-The Delicious Dabbler

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