Sunday, October 18, 2015

Five Layers of Something...

I'm a home baker. I may not be the best baker or cake decorator, but I love doing it!
When I first started Mommy, Can I Lick the Spoon?, I decided that I would post ALL of my baking projects - the good, the bad and the ugly. I wanted a place to keep track of everything I made so I could look back and (hopefully) see some improvements as time went on.

Well this poor little cake falls under the 'Looks Ugly, Tastes Good' category.

As I mentioned in my last post, Dave and I both celebrated our birthdays in September. This year I baked the cakes and the girls decorated them...yes them. The math is simple - two birthdays means two cakes.
My cake looked beautiful, but Dave's cake, the one this post is about, not so much.

I made a 6 inch, 5 layer carrot cake covered with cream cheese icing and regular buttercream between the layers. The sticky, thin, somewhat runny, yet delicious icing is what made it ugly...that and my not so great torting job!
Even though I did a crumb coat, I could not get the icing to cover the cake. It was so hard to spread and pretty much slid right off.
But the girls saved it with their amazing decorating skills. And lots of sprinkles and maple french creams.

Obviously my torting needs a little work too...

I think an easy fix would've been to add more icing sugar to thicken it up. But, I didn't want the icing sugar to make it too sweet and lose the cream cheese flavor as it was quite subtle to start with. And I used up all my cream cheese.

I found the recipe in an issue of one of my Food Network Magazines.
It was a simple, not overly sweet, moist cake speckled with lots of carrot bits. The one thing it lacked was spice. I found it to be a little bland and could've used some extra cinnamon or as the recipe called for, apple pie spice. But overall we liked it.

Carrot Cake:
(Adapted from Food Network Magazine)

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp apple pie spice (or pumpkin pie spice)
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/2 cup applesauce
2 1/2 cups finely grated carrots (about 4 medium carrots)


Preheat oven to 350° F. Prepare two 8" or 9" round pans (I used two 6" round pan). You can either grease and flour the pans, use non-stick cooking spray, or use homemade cake pan release .

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spice and salt into a medium bowl.

Beat both sugars, vegetable oil, eggs, applesauce and vanilla in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until combined, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low and beat in the flour mixture until just combined.
Fold in carrots with a rubber spatula.

Bake until each cake pulls away slightly from side of pan and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean, about 30-40 minutes (depending on size of cake pan). Transfer to a rack and let cool 10 minutes in the pans, then invert onto the rack to cool completely.

Cream Cheese Icing:
(Adapted from Martha Stewart)

1 cup (8 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup salted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Place cream cheese in a medium mixing bowl. Using a rubber spatula, soften cream cheese. Gradually add butter, and continue beating until smooth and well blended. Sift in confectioners' sugar, and continue beating until smooth. Add vanilla, and stir to combine.

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