Dec 14, 2009
This should be in everyone's baking repertoire. The cake is quick and easy; the frosting is quick and easy; and both are outstandingly delicious. It was a treat to go back to something on the quick-and-easy list after a group of more time-consuming projects. I counted up today, and so far I've blogged about 31 cakes, not counting this one. At Cake #31, and counting, I feel that I can no longer call myself a complete novice, and must move myself up to Advanced Beginner from Novice, using the Dreyfus system of rating.
Really, the hardest thing about this cake is grating the carrots.
Once you have grated several pounds of carrots, all that's left to do is sift the dry ingredients together,
mix the eggs, oil, and sugars,
and add the carrots.
Carrot cake is not traditional on Chanukah, but it is appropriate--at least I hope it is--because it's made with oil, and because the story of Chanukah is that of the miracle of the oil. My friend Karen told me that fried jelly doughnuts are actually more traditional, but what can I say? There are no recipes for fried jelly doughnuts in Rose's Heavenly Cakes, so any attempt to make them will have to wait until Chanukah 2011.
I don't know whether it's more authentic to write "Chanukah" or "Hanukkah" or some other version, but I like to write it with a "ch" because it reminds me that it's one of those words that I read long before I heard it pronounced, and when I first heard it pronounced, I thought it was a completely different word: like hors d'oeuvre.
The batter is poured into prepared pans, and baked for about a half-hour.
What makes this carrot cake different from others? I checked a recipe from Betty Crocker to compare. Rose's has more flour, a mixture of brown and white sugar instead of just white (a significant difference), an additional egg, a bit of cocoa (which I haven't seen in other recipes), baking powder as well as baking soda, and optional raisins, which I did not include. Both have two teaspoons of cinnamon and three cups of carrots.
It's the frosting that's really different from the ordinary cream cheese frosting. Ordinary--cream cheese, butter or margarine (my house is a margarine-free zone), and powdered sugar. Rose's--cream cheese, butter, white chocolate, and a little creme fraiche or sour cream. It's the ordinary lifted to the sublime, and the sublimity is reached simply by dumping the ingredients in a food processor, after first having melted the white chocolate, and whirring them together.
I've made this frosting, the "Dreamy Creamy White Chocolate Frosting," before, but I've never liked it as much as I like it on this cake. When I made it for the banana cake, I put too much almond extract in it, but this was perfect.
By the way, I really like my new thermometer. Now that I've got an instant-read that works, I have, perhaps predictably, become somewhat obsessive about taking the temperature of various things.
It's my attitude toward frosting the cake that made me decide to promote myself to Advanced Beginner. I actually was looking forward to it instead of dreading it. Granted, it was easy to make and went on smoothly. Granted, there was no slicing, dyeing or, caramelizing involved. But, still, I felt that I could do it.
The cake was so moist that, when I cut into it I wondered whether I'd undercooked it, even though I'd tested it. But it wasn't underdone--just moist. Like the pumpkin cake, this one has so much flavor that you don't at all miss the presence of butter. As with other of Rose's cakes, the flavors are perfectly balanced, so that eating it nuances of flavor in every bite. And, also as with other of her cakes, it's not cloyingly sweet. I know that some of the bakers already have a favorite carrot cake recipe, so I'll be interested to hear how Rose's version compares. As for me, I didn't have a favorite recipe before, but now I do.
Karen: "It's gorgeous and delicious. A very sophisticated version of carrot cake."
Jim: "Very moist. It's pretty the way the nuts are arranged. The best carrot cake I'ver ever eaten."
Laurel: "Very good. Less than the usual overwhelming spices."
Jan: "Moist, creamy, carroty."
Posted by Marie at 2:15 PM