Jan 23, 2010

Carrots! Apples! Walnuts! Raisins! It's Complicated and Worth It.

Generally speaking, I like to promote recipes or techniques that have a high rewards-to-effort ratio.  This isn’t one of them.  The cake came out really really good, but it contains about a bezillion ingredients, took half the day to make, and created a mountain of dishes for me to wash.  But I had to get the urge to make a carrot cake out of my system.  This is how I did it:

To see the full instructional photo album go to: frankie makes crazy cake on facebook

Bowl #1:
2.5 cups of whole wheat flour.  white is ok
1.5 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon cloves

Bowl #2:
1 cup veggie oil
1/3 cup milk.  high fat, lowfat, nonfat, soy, whatever
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Bowl #3:
¾ cup raisins
1 cup toasted walnuts
2 cups grated carrots
1.5 cups cooked apples
*coconut would be great in this cake, too.  My husband is not a fan. 

Bowl #4: Frosting (make after cakes have cooled to room temp):
2 packages cream cheese.  I used one regular, one non fat
half a stick of soft butter
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

The Procedure: 
Prepare ingredients in bowls #1 and #2.

Bowl # 3 takes some prep:
1.   Raisins:  any kind.  Don’t like ‘em?  Don’t use ‘em.
2.   Walnuts:  is toasting really necessary?  Maybe not.  But when I tasted the cake batter before baking, I was most impressed with the toasty walnut flavor that permeated the mix.  To toast:  toss a cup or so of walnuts into a dry pan, cook on medium high heat, turning frequently, for a few minutes.  It’s pretty obvious when they’re done.  Chop the toasted nuts.   
3.   Apples.  Most carrot cake recipes call for a can of crushed pineapple.  I wanted apples.  So I peeled, sliced and cooked a similar volume of them in a half a cup of orange juice on medium high heat just until soft.  I poured off the OJ and used only the apples in the batter. 
4.   Grate about 2 cups of carrots

Mix the ingredients in bowl #1

Mix then beat ingredients in bowl #2

Add bowl #1 to bowl #2 and mix or beat until well blended 

Finally, add the raisins, nuts, apples, and carrots in bowl #3 and mix

Butter and flour two cake pans.  there is enough batter to do three cake pans if you like. 

Place cakes on the center rack in oven and bake at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick, skewer, or wood chopstick comes out clean when you poke the cake with it. 

Let those babies cool down to room temperature before frosting. 

Bowl #4:  Frosting.  Put 2 packages of cream cheese, half a stick of soft butter, a teaspoon of vanilla, and about 3 cups of powdered sugar into the bowl and blend with a spoon until you can use the electric mixer. 

To frost the cake:  turn the lower layer upside down so that the two layers fit together nicely. 


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