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Carrot Cake Recipe?
Posted: 20 November 2008 11:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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On Sunday, I actually made the Silver Palate Carrot Cake that Jeanne so highly recommends…and the taste was fabulous.  I actually took pics but forgot to e-mail them to myself at work.

My husband’s review is that it is dense and needs more cinnamon.  But to be fair to the recipe I had to explain to him that carrot cake is usually dense and not all cakes are going to be fluffy and cloudlike…his response “Oh”.  And he is a cinnamon freak, so it doesn’t surprise me that he would want more.  But he did like it and say it was a keeper.  And Jeanne also warned me to use good quality cinnamon.  And it isn’t that I didn’t trust her on that but I just used the Archer Farms brand I had in the cabinet since this was a test cake and I didn’t want to drive all the way to Central Market to get a better quality brand.

My opinion is that it needed less nuts.  I like the texture and feel of cake in my mouth.  And it is a bit annoying to me for that to be interupted with a crunch of a nut.  With that said, I do realize that a carrot cake just isn’t right without nuts.  That’s because I always had nuts in my carrot cakes growing up.  But I will probably reduce the amount of nuts next time to about half.  And I subbed pecans for walnuts as well.  I would probably cut out some of the coconut as well…for the same “cake texture” reason stated above. 

One of my favorite things about the cake is the pureed carrots.  I thought I would miss the traditional grated carrots but I really didn’t…probably goes back to the texture thing.

So that’s my review…the cake was delicious and it will definitely be my go-to carrot cake with a few modifications for my liking.

I used the White Choc Cream Cheese BC with it, which was my first time.  I tasted quite a bit of butter when I tasted it on it’s own but less when paired with the cake.  However, I think I could still stand a little less than the 6 oz of butter.  Anybody else feel this way?  Also, it never thickened up enough to pipe with.  But I think that was a combination of my errors:  (1) not letting the WC cool enough and (2) the butter being too soft.


Jeanne,
Thanks for the super-yummy recipe!!  I used the pre-peeled, pre-sliced carrot chips instead of peeling, slicing, and boiling regular ones.  I already had some in the fridge from making homemade chicken noodle soup.  I also thought about using the snack size carrots since they are just regular carrots shaved down to petite size.  Have you ever done this?  Did I compromise the taste by using the chips?

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Posted: 20 November 2008 11:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Oh…one more question Jeanne…do you ever pre-make the carrots and refrigerate or freeze them?  I thought about making a ton and premeasuring for the future.

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Posted: 22 November 2008 06:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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I am making so much carrot cake lately that now (for cost) I’m buying 10 and 50 pound bags of carrots and cutting them into coins and pureeing them in the Robot Coupe at work (that thing is like a food processor on steroids). 

But I used to use the prepeeled baby carrots when I needed to make a small batch of carrot cake; the 2# bag was enough for 1.5 times the recipe and was a lot easier and faster!  I also can’t tell you why it makes a difference to peel the carrots; I was lazy last week and didn’t and the cake tastes off to me.  So now I know….

You can definitely make the puree ahead and freeze it; I do this all the time now.  I weigh out what I need (either a single, double or 4x the recipe) into a freezer bag, press out all the air and toss it into the freezer.  This has the advantage of taking up less space and I can put the bag into warm water tto thaw if I need to make the cake the same day.

My favorite cinnamon for this is Penzey’s Korintje.  I’ve made it without the nuts and surprizingly I didn’t miss it.  I used to just throw the whole pecan halves into the mixer and let the mixer break them up, but now I’ve started chopping the pecans and that makes a big difference - a better one smile

Glad you liked it!

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Posted: 22 November 2008 06:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Opallady - 19 November 2008 09:55 PM

What are you frosting the cake with, Jeanne?  I love the smoothness of buttercream made with syrup, but I adore cream cheese, too.  Have you found a happy solution? 

How many different ways do all you other bakers frost your carrot cakes?

Normally I use three layers of cake and two layers of filling for the cakes I make; but for carrot cake, I use two layers of cake and one layer of traditional cream cheese icing.  I don’t like this carrot cake with a traditional/classic buttercream-I’ve tried adding cream cheese to a meringue buttercream and the neoclassic buttercream and I think it gets lost.  This particular cake is dense and the typical cream cheese frosting is a better match for it.  But when I am using it for a design that requires fondant, I put regular buttercream on the outside of the cake because cream cheese frosting crusts and you can’t get fondant to adhere well to it.

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Posted: 22 November 2008 09:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Jeanne - 22 November 2008 10:26 AM

I also can’t tell you why it makes a difference to peel the carrots; I was lazy last week and didn’t and the cake tastes off to me.  So now I know….


Just wanted to chime in with this. In Maida Heatters carrot cake recipe this is what it states:

“It is not necessary to peel the carrots; just cut off the ends, wash them well with a vegetable brush, and drain or dry them.”

I always peel the carrots though.

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Posted: 22 November 2008 10:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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It probably makes a difference if you’re using garden fresh or organic carrots verses the plastic bag grocery store variety (I buy tons of the grocery store ones).

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Posted: 23 November 2008 09:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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I finally had a chance to try the Epicurious carrot cake.  I made half the recipe in (2) 6x2in round pans and frosted it with Rose’s White Chocolate Cream Cheese Buttercream (more on that later).

After reading about a hundred of the more than 500 comments, I made the following adjustments to the recipe (ordinarily, I’d make the recipe “straight” once, but the comments were very consistent about the cake as is being too oily and light on spice):
* Reduce oil to 1 cup from 1-1/2 cups
* Add 1/2 cup crushed pineapple, drained (added to the wet ingredients)
* Reduce nutmeg to 1/2 tsp from 3/4 tsp
* Add 1/2 tsp ground allspice
* Omit pecans and raisins (just don’t like them in carrot cake that much)

I did not adjust the baking soda or baking powder for the smaller pans. The layers cooked for 40 minutes in a 300F with convection on.  They rose slightly above the pan and fell to almost perfectly level on cooling (no bake-even strips used).

We got invited to a friend’s for dinner, so I brought the cake over for dessert.  The adjusted recipe had a slightly lighter texture than most carrot cakes I’ve tried.  Very moist and tender, and absolutely delicious with the WCCCBC.  I’ll probably not reduce the nutmeg next time (or even go up a bit on the spices); after trying the cake, I’d say I prefer my carrot cakes to be a bit on the zippier side like a spice cake (this suggestion was soundly rejected by one of the other people trying it).

I tried to pipe a basket weave on the sides of the cake.  This started out OK, but the white chocolate cream cheese buttercream quickly softened in the bag to the point where it was really oozing out.  I was in a hurry, so I wasn’t really giving the buttercream any breaks from the heat of my hands.  I had to give up on the basket weave about halfway around the cake.

Does anyone do much piping with this buttercream?  It seems to get pretty unmanageable awfully quick. There’s a note after the recipe in TCB to cut back the butter for warm weather and I might try this

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Posted: 23 November 2008 09:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Haven’t personally tried this buttercream but with ANY buttercream I have found I need to keep it chilled (at least in a bowl of cold water or something) while piping, and basketweave is not a quick process, is it?  Plus the frosting really needs definition.  Of course, my being in tropical Singapore makes a huge difference probably.

I was once piping shell borders with a normal cream cheese frosting (cream cheese, SOME butter and icing sugar) on a carrot cake and it oozed before I finished as I was in a hurry and didn’t give it a break and chill the frosting it in between.  Mind you, I was doing 3 tiers and this was a bottom tier.  So I had rather messy shells for the bottom tier.

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Posted: 23 November 2008 11:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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I’m used to working with Italian meringue buttercream.  The white choc cream cheese buttercream seems to be a little meltier and fussier.  I usually keep the house around 67F; I’m tempted to frost outside on the back porch (been in the low 40s F here outside Washington DC).

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Posted: 24 November 2008 10:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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Hi Dan - I’ve piped with the white chocolate cream cheese buttercream once and I wasn’t happy with it’s “piping abilities” at all…. very, very soft.  I think the more it’s handles, the softer it gets (whether cold or not).  Wish I could offer a solution.

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Posted: 24 November 2008 10:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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Could you split it up in two different piping bags and leave one in the fridge while you are using the other?  Then switch them out when one gets soft?

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Posted: 25 November 2008 11:18 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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I gave up on the idea of the basket weave.  Really too much going on with work and getting ready for the holiday to add the stress of a decorating technique that I’m not that good at, just for the sake of bragging rights.  I couldn’t find any paper fall foliage for the top of the cake, anyway, which was going for the Thanksgiving theme.  I went for a more traditional carrot cake look, with toasted pecans sparingly applied on the side and top.

I have to say, Rose’s white chocolate cream cheese buttercream is BY FAR the best cream cheese icing I’ve ever tasted. Not overly sweet.  Perfect for a carrot or spice cake.  (Anyone tried vanilla in the recipe instead of lemon juice?)

I did notice an error in my recipe when I made the 6in rounds.  I did the math in my head to divide the recipe (always asking for trouble) and ended up with 3-1/4oz by weight of vegetable oil in the cake instead of 3-3/4oz.  Can’t say the cake suffered one bit, although I did use the “correct” (albeit modified) amount of 7.5oz by weight when I made the 9in rounds.  The tops dipped very slightly in the middle on cooling (I did cut back on the baking powder to 1-3/4 tsp since they’d be in the oven longer).

I’ll let you know how it looks and tastes later when I cut into it.  I’m thinking that less oil (6-1/2oz by weight for the 9in rounds) may be the way to go.  2 days later, what’s left of the 6in cake is still pretty darn moist, especially considering it hasn’t been wrapped!

Pic of the decorated cake, which I’m bringing to a client’s office pot-luck, is attached below.

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Posted: 25 November 2008 01:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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Another lovely cake creation from Dan O’B.  I like the way you decorated the cake Dan - I’m not a basket weave fan either… my hand is practically crippled afterward, and I don’t like my results.  Now Bill does a mean basketweave!!!

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Posted: 25 November 2008 02:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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The looks great Dan even without the basketweave. I agree with Patricia, Bill’s basketweave is picture perfect.

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Posted: 26 November 2008 01:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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The cake looks scrumptious Dan! Love the simple chopped pecans decoration.

My CC frostings always used to turn out rather soft (Rose’s WCCC and another one I use that has butter & powdered sugar) and I had given up on trying to pipe anything more elaborate than a simple swirl.

But, while looking around at other sites one day, I came across a solution. You can find it here http://www.culinarycafe.com/Desserts/Cream_Cheese_Frosting.html It sa.ys to have the cheese COLD when beating it into the butter, and to avoid overbeating it. Otherwise the cheese tends to break down and become soft/runny. I’ve tried this method with my normal CC recipe and it really does make the frosting firmer.  Although I haven’t tried it with the WCCC yet, I think it should work as well.

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