Saturday, August 28, 2010

RECIPE: Old Fashioned Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

With the abundance of carrots in our gardens, we do enjoy a good carrot cake at Creepstone Cottage and this recipe works quite well whether for afternoon tea, or a good home-style desert.

A small square is really all that’s needed of this rich and moist version, but no one can blame you if you go back for seconds. Store any rogue leftovers you have covered and in the refrigerator, though they won't last long. Check out the Henrietta Hint at the bottom of this post for a fine variation on this cake that a very dear friend of the witches came up with one bright summer's day.

Ingredients you will need for the cake:
  • One and a half cup of walnuts that have been toasted and coarsely chopped
  • Two and a half cups of peeled and grated raw carrots
  • Two cups of flour
  • One teaspoon of baking soda
  • One and a half teaspoons of baking powder
  • One half a teaspoon of salt
  • One and a half teaspoon of dried, ground cinnamon bark
  • Half a teaspoon of dried, ground ginger root
  • Half a teaspoon of dried, ground cloves
  • Four large chicken’s eggs
  • One and a half cups of packed brown sugar
  • One cup of vegetable oil
  • One half a cup of applesauce
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
The first thing to do is to get your tools ready. In this case that means making sure the oven rack is the center and then turning the oven on to three hundred and fifty degrees so it’s nice and warm when the cake goes in. You’ll also want to grease a nine by thirteen baking pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. This is also a good time to take the cream cheese and butter out of the fridge and let em romp about it for a bit so that they are softened and at room temperature when you go to make the icing. Now you can start to mix things up!

Instructions for the cake:
  1. Take a good-sized bowl and into it sift your flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves and ginger. Set it aside but let it know that you won’t be long and so not to worry.
  2. Now in a smaller bowl, beat the eggs until they have a nice froth about them.
  3. Gradually add your brown sugar and beat together until the batter is thick and lovely.
  4. Stirring constantly, add the oil in a good steady stream until it is well combined.
  5. Stir in the apple sauce and add the vanilla, beating until just incorporated.
  6. Now return to your flour mixture (which should be fairly confident if you remembered to reassure it earlier) and stir that into the egg mixture just until mixed.
  7. Gently fold in the grated carrots and one cup of the chopped walnuts.
  8. Poor the resulting batter into your greased and lined baking pan and slide it into your oven for a good thirty-five to forty minutes, or until a toothpick thrust into the middle of the cake comes out quite clean and batter free.
  9. Let the cake cool on a wire rack for about ten minutes, and then invert the cake onto the rack and remove the pan and parchment paper so that it can cool completely before you frost it.
Ingredients you will need for the icing:
  • One quarter of a cup of butter
  • Two hundred and fifty grams of cream cheese (that’s usually a brick if store bought)
  • Two cups of icing sugar
  • One teaspoon of vanilla extract
Instructions for the icing:
  1. In a small but well meaning bowl, beat the cream cheese together with the butter and vanilla until they are blended and there are not nasty lumps.
  2. Slowly add the sugar bit by bit and beat until once again smooth.
Ice the cake with the mixture nice and evenly and sprinkle the top with the remaining walnuts. What a delight!

HENRIETTA HINT: Although we tend to think of carrot cake as a fall thing, it is delicious all year round. A good friend of the witches named Lori Nancy made a beautiful carrot cake for a Canada Day picnic using white sugar in place of the brown and crushed and drained canned pineapple in place of the apple sauce. To decorate it for the occasion, she cleverly placed a pattern of freshly picked and sliced strawberries on top of the cake making it into a Canadian flag! The sweet berries next to the somewhat tart cream cheese icing over the spicy cake was a wonderful variation and very tasty indeed.

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