Monday, April 21, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie - Bill's Big Carrot Cake

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It seems like since I joined Tuesdys with Dorie my luck hasn't been very good. My lemon cream tarts fell apart, the gooey chocolate cakes weren't gooey, and my marshmallows just weren't very pretty.

But if there's one thing I can do, it's cupcakes. I can't even begin to tell you how excited I was when Amanda of Slow Like Honey chose Bill's Big Carrot Cake as our recipe for the week. As soon as it was announced, I ran out for carrots and cupcake liners and got to work.

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The husband likes to frequently remind me that carrot cake is his favorite cake so I end up making it for him every couple of months. I try a different recipe each time but I think I'm going to make this my go-to carrot cake. The recipe called for coconut and dried cranberries which isn't something I'd normally add to a carrot cake, but both ingredients were perfect.

The lemon cream cheese frosting was delicious! I'm a fan of just plain ol' vanilla frosting for carrot cake but the lemon went really well. I topped the cupcakes with toasted coconut and walnuts.

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Bill's Big Carrot Cake
from: Baking: From My Home to Yours

For the cake:

2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon salt
3 cups grated carrots (about 9 carrots, you can grate them in food processor fitted w/ a shredding a blade or use a box grater)
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
1 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
½ cup moist, plump raisins (dark or golden) or dried cranberries
2 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil
4 large eggs

For the frosting:

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick ( 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 pound or 3 and ¾ cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or ½ teaspoon pure lemon extract
½ cup shredded coconut (optional)
Finely chopped toasted nuts and/or toasted shredded coconut (optional)

Getting ready:


Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter three 9-x-2-inch round cake pans, flour the insides, and tap out the excess. Put the two pans on one baking sheet and one on another.

To make the cake:


Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, stir together the carrots, chopped nuts, coconut, and raisins.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the sugar and oil together on a medium speed until smooth. Add the eggs one by one and continue to beat until the batter is even smoother. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture, mixing only until the dry ingredients disappear. Gently mix the chunky ingredients. Divide the batter among the baking pans.

Bake for 40-50 minutes, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point, until a thin knife inserted into the centers comes out clean. The cakes will have just started to come away from the sides of the pans. Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes and unmold them. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.

The cakes can be wrapped airtight and kept at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to 2 months.

To make the frosting:


Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until the frosting is velvety smooth. Beat in the lemon juice or extract.

If you'd like coconut in the filling, scoop about half of the frosting and stir the coconut into this position.

To assemble the cake:

Put one layer top side up on a cardboard cake round or a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper. If you added the coconut to the frosting, use half of the coconut frosting to generously cover the first layer (or generously cover with plain frosting). Use an offset spatula or a spoon to smooth the frosting all the way to the edges of the layer. Top with the second layer, this time placing the cake stop side down, and frost with the remainder of the coconut frosting or plain frosting. Top with the last layer, right side up, and frost the top- and the sides- of the cake. Finish the top with swirls of frosting. If you want to top the cake with toasted nuts or coconut, sprinkle them on now while the frosting is soft.

Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes, just to set the frosting before serving.

Serving:

This cake can be served as soon as the frosting is set. It can also wait, at room temperature and covered with a cake keeper overnight. The cake is best served in thick slices at room temperature and while it's good plain, it's even better with vanilla ice cream or some lemon curd.

Storing:

The cake will keep at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. It can also be frozen. Freeze it uncovered, then when it's firm, wrap airtight and freeze for up to 2 months. Defrost, still wrapped, overnight in the refrigerator.

28 comments:

Rebecca of "Ezra Pound Cake" said...

Victory at last! Your cupcakes are so cute. I can't believe you make carrot cake every couple of months. My husband's favorite is chocolate. He disregards everything else we bake. ;)

Rebecca
http://www.ezrapoundcake.com

CB said...

I love the cupcakes! So glad yours worked out and I agree that the craisins and lemon were so yum in this recipe!
Clara @ I♥food4thought

Michelle said...

Your cupcakes look so perfect! Great job! I'm glad you had success this time around!

Lisa said...

Wow - those look great! The pictures are so pretty! The icing sounds especially yummy!

Sarah said...

Great job! I did cupcakes too and I had the same thoughts on the icing...it made the cupcakes!

Marie said...

Great looking cupcakes! So glad the recipe worked for you! I thought it was fabulous!

Mary Ann said...

Looks so good! great job on the cupcakes!

slush said...

Perfect little cupcakes! So glad this recipe worked for you, I think its a keeper. Fab job!

Robin said...

Love your cupcakes, I didn't think of that option until it was too late and did mine in 2 cake pans but it came out fine. My husband and I really enjoyed this recipe, looks like you did too!

Amy said...

They look great!

mimi said...

your cupcakes look great! i, too, had been unlucky with dorie. but this carrot cake was definitely a reason to keep trying her out!

Amy W said...

Wish I could have a recipe go right!!

Jayne said...

Beautiful! Those are lovely cupcakes! Hooray - success!

Bumblebutton said...

Success is sweet! Lovely job!

Julia & Tyler said...

love your cupcakes! Yay for a success! I really like your cupcake liners. I picked out some really colorful ones but they looked better in the package than on the cupcakes!

Caroline said...

Congratulations on the success this time!

Carrie said...

I love how pure and simple your cupcakes look! Beautiful!
Carrie
http://bakersbakery.wordpress.com

Di said...

I'm glad you finally had a recipe work the way you meant it to. Your cupcakes look great!

Mary said...

your cupcakes look amazing....glad you felt like a success this week. your husband is lucky to have you!

Mevrouw Cupcake said...

Hurray! Good job lady! Your cupcakes look fabulous!

Melissa said...

I liked the coconut too!

Heather said...

I'm glad you got one that worked for you! They look like they turned out terrific! Great job!

Chris said...

Congrats on your success. The cupcakes look so cute!

Shari said...

Your cupcakes look great! Glad you were successful this week.

Gretchen Noelle said...

Glad you love making cupcakes because you did a great job with them! Wonderful that it may be your go to carrot cake recipe!

LyB said...

So much fun when something works out well! Your cupcakes look delicious!

cruisingkitty said...

oooh, they're so cute!
Donna

Dolores said...

I'm so glad this one worked for you... your carrot cupcakes are adorable!