This has been a unique summer for me. Although I’ve been engaged in many of the things I love- going to yoga, concerts, travelling, biking, camping, drinking and dancing ( a stellar combo, as opposed to doing other abhorrent things while drinking, like driving or facebook-ing), something important has been missing (not including Scott, of course). And by the neglect of this blog, I’m pretty sure you can guess what that is. Guys, I’ve just been too effin’ busy and carefree to think about things like groceries and cooking. I’m sorry. It also doesn’t help that I work in a restaurant and eat dinner there often. (Someone deserves food blog of the year for that last paragraph alone!)
When August rolled around, the specific and important task of providing my dad with a birthday cake finally added some motivational impetus, as well as careful thought and time management, which blissfully seem to have gone out the window as of late. And he is a crazy-good cook. No pressure, but I had to create something good.
Because it was to be a surprise, and I was to bring the cake to the restaurant via public transit, I wisely decided not to make this incredible, yet melty, cake again.I can’t remember how I decided on carrot cake, except for the fact that they are generally judged more on tasting good than presentation, and nothing in the world rivals a good, old fashioned tangy cream cheese icing. That and I was pretty sure my dad would like it.
The scary thing about cakes is that is is hard to test them before you serve them. This was a dinner for eight, and I was a little nervous that it would be dry or bland. But I knew the icing was good because I kept tasting it. Much to my dismay, I “tasted” so much that I had to go back out to the store and buy a whole other package of cream cheese when I realized that the bowl was half empty. What the?!
The cake was phenomenal by the way, and moist as ever.
I loosely followed this recipe from Ricardo Cuisine.com but used coconut sugar instead of brown, upped the spice, added raisins, and topped with these pearlescent white currents and cinnamon.
Classic Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing
- 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1.5 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 eggs
- 1 3/4 cups coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
- 3/4 cup canola, corn or vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 4 cups of peeled and grated carrots
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1 cup fresh white currants (or red, yellow or fruit of choice)
- 2 250 g packages of cream cheese ( probably more like 1.5, but keep some extra for “tasting”, obvs)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- Icing sugar to taste (approx 1/2 cup).
- 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 F, and line two 8 inch spring form pans with parchment paper (do not grease pans)
2. In medium bowl combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt and set aside.
3. In separate, larger bowl, combine wet ingredients- eggs, oil, OJ, and sugar and whisk.
4. Gently stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients slowly. Add carrots, walnuts and raisins.
5. Divide the batter equally between the two pans and bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick (or fork, or knife) inserted into the center comes out clean.
6. Allow to cool in the pan before releasing the cakes.
As for the icing, simply mix that good stuff up with a handheld blender until smooth. Maybe wait to do this last, if you’d like to avoid gorging on the stuff while the cakes are baking. Just a lil’ ol’ diet tip from me to you!
7. Once cool, layer the cakes with the icing and currants. I put currants in between the two layers for added busts of tartness.I think that the tart and the sweet and the creamy worked together beautifully, but it should be said I’m not a huge fan of really sweet desserts. Top with a sprinkle of cocoa or cinnamon. No need to get too cute with it!
Here are some impromptu instagram-y photos to document the event.
I think he liked it!
Happy Birthday to my amazing D! Love you lots.
And happy summer everyone, I hope it has been as good to you as it has to me!