Monday, July 27, 2009

A Tale of Two Cakes....part one

Today I'm making two cakes for my "first tiered cake" that I'm decorating tomorrow. The first tier is a carrot cake and the top tier will be a pina colada cake.

Carrot Cake - I could not for the life of me find me go-to recipe for carrot cake. It's been ages since I made one - so I couldn't even fake the recipe. So I scoured the internet and found one I thought would work...I found this one from good ol' Martha Stewart. I liked that it had butter instead of oil (although I know that oil in carrot cake is just fine). I decided to add pineapple to the recipe so it would tie in with the top tier, and also instead of adding "just" chopped pecans, I added "brown sugared pecans" that I had made the night before....Here's the recipe....

Carrot Cake
(by Martha Stewart)
Serves 10

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (heaping tsp)
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (only used 1/4 tsp)
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (I omitted, only cuz I didn't have any)
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar (I increased this to 3/4 cup)
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup water (wierd, huh?)
1 pound carrots (8 to 10 medium carrots), peeled and shredded on a box grater or in a food processor (about 2 3/4 cups) (so I only used 2 packed cups)
2 cups pecans (1 cup finely chopped for batter, 1 cup coarsely chopped for decorating sides of cake) (1 cup brown sugared pecans, chopped)

Make the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter three 9-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment paper, and butter parchment. Dust with flour, tapping out excess. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and nutmeg.
Beat butter and sugars with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat 3 minutes. Add vanilla, water, and carrots. Beat until well combined, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low, and add flour mixture, then finely chopped pecans.
Scrape batter into prepared pans, dividing evenly. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cool in pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around edges of cakes to loosen, and turn out cakes onto rack. Turn right side up, and let cool completely.

This made pretty flat cakes that didn't rise very much...which is fine because I'm gonna layer them anyway. Unfortunately, I could not taste these, to make sure they are okay....cuz I'm on a diet....but it smells and looks divine. I'll let you know tomorrow what people think of the cake.

Brown Sugar Pecans
(from recipezaar)

16 ounces pecan halves (this time, I actually used 8 ozs. chopped pecans)
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt

1. arrange pecan halves in a foil lined 13 x 9 pan.
2. melt butter in saucepan over medium heat and add brown sugar,vanilla and salt.
3. stir one minute and remove from heat.
4. continue stirring, until brown sugar dissolves.
5. pour over pecans, stirring to coat.6. Bake at 325 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes; stirring every 10 minutes.
7. remove from oven and spread on wax paper to cool.
8. store in an airtight container

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