Thursday, September 20, 2007

Cake Therapy

Bad days come down to three therapies- running, yoga, and baking.
After a weird dream, getting attacked by a bat, seeing a nude bicyclist, running into a raccoon, losing my ID, and other events. I decided to bake. I had already ran for the day and I needed to destroy and create something.
I searched for recipes, finding nothing I liked. I could make a Upsidedown Butterscotch Apple Cake, a spice cake, or a carrot cake.
Recently I had visited an Austin restaurant called Chez-Zee. They are known for their excellent desserts and they are remarkable. Often my boyfriend reminds me of it and repeats that we must go back. I guess he doesn't trust my baking skills, but that's a side note. When I looked at the menu, I was shocked to find that they didn't have carrot cake. One of my favorite cakes and the one I requested for my birthday.
So yesterday, I looked in my fridge and found cream cheese and what did pop in my head but carrot cake. Not just any carrot cake, but the one Ruth Reichl swears by.
I told my boyfriend I was going to destroy my kitchen, before running to the grocery store to pick up supplies. I told the cashier my goal, and she asked me if I had carrots. I looked at my groceries, cussing. I had almost forgot the most important ingredient. Carrots.
Of course, I went back and got them, coming home to work on the destruction of my kitchen. The batter of course was addicting and it was hard to keep my fingers out. The layers didn't come out even, and they never do. But in front of me was finally my birthday cake. After 8 months, I finally had my birthday cake.
And yes I had a birthday cake in January, but it was a dry, store-bought carrot cake. It didn't suffice and I've craved a carrot cake ever since. Then my friend promised me one, but it has been a month and a girl can only wait so long. So in all its glory was a lopsided carrot cake.
So what did I do with my birthday cake? I shared it with girlfriends, and then my boyfriend got to it with a fork. With his fork attack, I decided to spare people his germs and just allow him to keep it. He's also, the reason, why I have no pictures of the cake. What are you going to do?
Make another of course.

Carrot cake

(taking from Ulterior Epicurean , who used Gourmet's recipe. )

The Cake:
About 3/4 pound carrots
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
4 large eggs
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2/3 cup raisins (optional)

For Frosting:
2 (8-ounce) packages of cream cheese, softened
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Special Equipment: two 9-by-2-inch round cake pans

Make the Cake: Put a rack in middle of oven and prheat oven to 350F. Butter and flour cake pans, knocking out excess flour.
1. Shred enough carrots on smallest teardrop holes of box grater or with fine shredding disk ina food processor to measure 2 cups.
2. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon into a large bowl. Stir in sugar, oil, eggs, carrots, pineapple, coconut, walnuts and raisins (if using).
3. Divide batter between cake pans and bake until a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center of cakes comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes. Cool layers in pans on a rack for 5 minutes, then run a thin knife around edge of each pan and invert layers onto rack to cool completely.

*Note in my oven I actually cooked it for 50 minutes. And I got 2 layers and 6 cupcakes, so I'm sure it could have made 3 layers.

Make the Frosting: Beat together cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until fluffy about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, add confectioners’ sugar, and beat until frosting is smooth.
Place 1 cake layer bottom side up on a cake plate and spread with some of frosting. Place remaining cake layer right side up on top and spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake.

*Note if you want thick icing, double the recipe. If your not into icing, hell you don't even need it.

Decortations: Pecans, frosting, walnuts, and coconut


Anh said...

Jerry, I hope you feel better now! Please take care and enjoy your lovely cake!

Deborah said...

Carrot cake is my favorite as well!

lynn said...

I'll bet your cake was heavenly moist with crushed pineapple in it. Sounds awesome! I hope you can get picturs of the next one.