I hate people who are not serious about their meals. -- Oscar Wilde

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Carrot Cake

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: Cream cheese frosting tastes awesome...especially the morning after when a smudge of it sat on the table overnight. Don't judge me.

I never liked Carrot Cake as a kid. My Mom rarely bought any sweets and when she did, it was a special occasion for a fat kid like me. On the rare occasions she bought cake, I was happy like the fat kid in Willy Wonka that drank from the Chocolate River. Imagine my surprise when I would be psyched for cake and  I realized that she bought a Carrot Cake. World would collapse and go dark, I start shopping at Hot Topic and start writing bad poetry. Being Asian I broke it down my dislike for Carrot Cake mathematically:

Carrot= Vegetable
Vegetable= Not Cool/do not want

Therefore, Carrot= Not Cool/do not want and Cake= Cool/do want then:

Carrot + Cake= 0

0 is fail.

I got older, I became less of a picky eater and became open to other foods and it was not until I got to college that I actually appreciated Carrot Cake. Sadly, the first Carrot Cake that I remember enjoying was about Sophomore year at the Busch Dining Hall (Rutgers U. acknowledgement) and I was pretty sure that it was a sheet cake. Carrots themselves are naturally sweet so it is no surprise to make it into a carrot and topped with a traditional cream cheese frosting a great pairing.

I copped this recipe from the Flour Bakery Cookbook. Joanne Chang is a badass baker and I think I secretly have a weird Amy Tang novel connection with her with the whole Asian-person-not-wanting-to-do stereotype-Asian-job-and-bake kind of deal

Great thing about her book is she not only got volume measurements but also have the weight measurements which is far more accurate and easy to divide if you don’t want that much. I used dried cranberries instead of raisins and poached them in a mix of rum and white wine to give it a boozy kick.

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from Four Bakery Cookbook

1 cups + 2 tablespoon (160 grams) all-purpose flour
3 tablespoon buttermilk (yogurt, heavy cream, sour cream all works fine)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
12 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. of ground ginger
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 cups (260 grams) grated carrots
1 cup (50 grams) coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
1/2 cup (80 grams) raisins or dried cranberries
1 cup (220 grams) of brown sugar
3/4 (150 grams) canola oil
2 large eggs
For the Frosting
12 ounces (340 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick (8 tablespoon/half cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
 1 2/3 cups (230 grams) confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Preheat the oven at 350 degrees. Butter and flour one 8 inch cake pan.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt. In another bowl, stir together the carrots. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, cream the sugar, oil, buttermilk together on medium speed until smooth. Add the eggs one by one, and continue to beat until the batter is even smoother. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture, mixing only until the dry ingredients disappear. Gently mix in the raisins and nuts. Divide the batter among the baking pans.
Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point, until a thin knife inserted into the centers comes out clean; the cakes will have just started to come away from the sides of the pans. Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes and un-mold them. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.
Frosting: Beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until the frosting is velvety smooth.
To assemble: Wait for all parts to cool down, makes it easier to work with. Cut the cake in half, frost it up let it rest/cool in the refrigerator, profit/eat.
**For Boozy poached raisins (via www.thekitchn): Place your raisins in a saucepan and add 1 1/2 tablespoons dark rum, 3/4 cup dry white wine, 3 tablespoons orange juice, and a little sugar if you'd like. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until the raisins have soaked up the liquid.

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