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Posts Tagged ‘carrot layer cake’

I’ve been longing for the fall, so I made a carrot cake, the color of fall leaves.

It is soft and spiced with ginger and orange, cinnamon and the sweetness of carrot. It has equal amounts of whole wheat flour and white flour. Shredded coconut and ground almonds make an appearance. Its cream cheese frosting, flecked with orange rind and flavored with rum, is rich and festive.

I learned that butter, honey, sugar, vanilla and milk, heated, browned and condensed into a glaze, is magnificent. After I made it, I kept thinking of excuses to eat the remainder. It’d taste good on yogurt. Or toast. Or, just off my finger. Finally I poured all of it onto the cakes.

Yes, the cake has both a glaze and a frosting. It’s opulent. It’s spirited. It’s three layers of fall, frosted. If I don’t look outside while I’m eating it, I can pretend that although the sky is blue it’s chilly outside, that trees are bright with color, that the smell of fallen leaves is in the air. I think about wearing scarves, and stepping on pine cones, and all the varieties of apples, and of course I think of pumpkins. I think of hot apple cider, and apple orchards, and warm pies. I think of that stretch on my parents’ street which looks like a painting when the trees turn orange and yellow and red. I think of how September always feels fresh, like the beginning, although I know it’s the first step towards winter. But I can’t shake it. I love the fall and I miss it so.

I miss seasons like I miss people. Is that horrible? Next year, I’m coming to America in the fall.

This is a three layer cake. I took one layer to my writing group dinner and stacked the other two. If you want to make only one cake, divide the recipe into thirds. Don’t be intimidated by the lengthy ingredient list; the cake is very much worth it.

Spiced Carrot Layer Cake
adapted from Saveur

For the cake:
1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, plus more for pans
1 1⁄4 cups flour, plus more for pans
1 1⁄4 cups whole wheat flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tbsp. baking soda
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. kosher salt
1⁄2 tsp. ground allspice
1 cup shredded coconut
1⁄2 cup finely ground almonds
3 cups finely grated carrots
1 1⁄2 cups packed dark brown sugar
3 eggs, separated
1⁄2 cup plain yogurt
1⁄4 cup orange juice
1 tbsp. orange zest
1 tsp. vanilla extract
for the Glaze:
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
1⁄2 cup sugar
1⁄8 cup water + 1/8 cup yogurt, shaken together
1 tbsp. honey
3⁄4 tsp. baking soda
1⁄2 tsp. vanilla extract
For the frosting:
8 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1⁄2 cup mascarpone cheese
3  8-oz. packages cream cheese
2 tbsp. dark or spiced rum
1 tbsp. orange zest
13.5 oz. (385 grams) confectioners’ sugar
1. Make cake: Heat oven to 350°. Butter and flour three 9″ round baking pans; set aside. Heat butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat; cook until it browns.  Chill until solid. (Here’s a tutorial on browning butter.)
2. In a bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder and soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and allspice. Mix shredded coconut and almonds together. Combine nut mixture, carrots, and flour mixture; mix.
3. In a bowl, beat together browned butter and brown sugar until fluffy, 1–2 minutes; beat in yolks one at a time. Add yogurt, juice, zest, and vanilla; beat. Add flour mixture; beat. Using a hand mixer (or stand), beat egg whites to stiff peaks; fold into batter. Divide batter between pans; smooth tops with a spatula. Bake for 30–35 minutes. Let cool slightly.
4. Meanwhile, make glaze and icing: In a 4-qt. pan, combine 4 tbsp. butter, sugar, buttermilk, syrup, and baking soda; boil. Cook until dark, 3–4 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in 1⁄2 tsp. vanilla. Spread glaze over each warm cake. Remove cakes from pans; transfer, glazed side up, to racks. Let cool.
5. In a bowl, beat remaining butter, mascarpone, and cream cheese with a mixer until smooth. Add remaining vanilla, rum, and sugar; beat. Mix in remaining orange zest with a spoon. Chill frosting. Spread 1 1⁄4 cups icing evenly over 2 cake layers; stack, top with remaining layer. Frost top and sides. Chill before serving.
SERVES 16 – 20

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