Monday, September 10, 2012

Birthday Carrot Cake

Cake - under the florescent lights of the office.

Don't you love office birthdays? 

The excuse they give for ridiculous amounts of treats, for standing out in the hallway chatting about the birthday girl's plans, for taking a 5 minute breather to scrape every last speck of icing off the cake plate (which by 11:30 am is already a wasteland of crumbs).....

This past week was my first office birthday experience in my new office. And - completely ignoring my better judgement - I volunteered to bake the birthday cake.

It was decided that a carrot cake would be welcome and I set to work. When I brought in the 3 layer masterpiece last Thursday, the appropriate oohs and ahhs were made. 

Then they tried a piece. 

I couldn't get much work done for the rest of the day! Everyone came by to ask for the recipe (or ask if I catered). 

So, here's how to become the office favorite for a day in a few easy steps:

It starts with a bunch of shredded carrots. I suggest using the shredder blade on your food processor to do this. Otherwise your arm's gonna get pretty tired running up and down that box grater. 

You should also prepare your pans before we get to far into this. Cut out parchment circles and shelac the pans with non-stick spray.

 Whisk together your dry ingredients in a medium bowl (flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and nutmeg).

In an extremely large bowl, cream the butter, molasses, and sugars together.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.

The batter should look much lighter and fluffier after you're done with egg #3.

Next up, beat in the water and vanilla.

Next, beat in the carrots. 

Turn the mixer waaaaay down to low, and gradually beat in the flour mixture. 

Stir in the pecans, and you're ready for the pans.

Divide the batter equally among the 3 pans. 

Bake for 30 minutes, rotating the pans at the 15 minute mark.
Allow to cool completely.

Which gives you plenty of time to make the icing - butter and cream cheese go into a bowl.

Beat them till they're fluffy and add in the vanilla and powdered sugar (gradually, so that your kitchen isn't a big powdery mess!)

Taste it and make sure it's good. It's totally a step.

Stack and ice!

Add polka dots and a bit of writing. 


Birthday Carrot Cake
Makes 1 3-layer cake
Slightly adapted from Martha

For Cake:
2 1/2 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3 sticks of butter, softened
1 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
1 tbsp molasses
3 eggs
3 tsp vanilla
1/2 c. water
3 c. peeled, shredded carrots (about 2.5 lbs)
1 c. finely chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and line with parchment, then grease again, three 9" round cake pans. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and nutmeg. Set aside.

In a very large bowl, cream the butter, sugars, and molasses together until light and fluffy. Add eggs, beating after each one. Beat for 3 solid minutes after you've added the last one. Add in the vanilla, water, and carrots. Beat until homogenized.

Turn the mixer to low and gently beat in the flour mixture. Then beat in the pecans. Scrape the bowl well to make sure all is incorporated.

Divide evenly among the 3 pans, and bake for 30 minutes, rotating the pans at the 15 minute mark. Allow to cool in the pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes, and then remove from pans and cool completely before frosting.

2 blocks of full-fat cream cheese (16 oz), softened
2 sticks of butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla
2 lbs powdered sugar

In a large bowl beat the cream cheese and the butter together for several minutes until combined. Mix in the vanilla and gradually add in the powdered sugar.

Assemble the cake: spot of frosting on the bottom to hold the 1st layer in place. Add the first cake round, frost top, add second layer, frost top. Add third layer, frost top and sides. Decorate!

Will keep in the fridge overnight for serving the next day. As long as your husband is well aware that he is not allowed to touch it. 

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