Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Carrot Cake

This recipe was inspired by Cooks Illustrated. I did just a little tweaking. This cake is fabulous. The difference between this recipe and many others is the method. Emulsifying the sugars and eggs makes all the difference in the world. It would be interesting to see if this emulsification method would improve your favorite carrot cake recipe. Go and experiment and post your results!

Yield: 1 - 9" x 13"
  • 1 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 1 Tbl butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 ozs.) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 lb. (6-7 med.) carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 oz) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz) light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 4 lg eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups safflower, canola, or vegetable oil
  • 5 Tbl unsalted butter, softened but still cool
  • 12 oz cream cheese, softened but still cool
  • 3 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 Tbl orange liqueur
  1. Place baking stone on rack in middle of oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
  2. Chop walnuts and toast in oven for about 10 minutes. Pour nuts into small bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon of butter and 1/2 teaspoon of salt immediately upon removal from oven.
  3. Spray 13" x 9" pan with nonstick spray. Line pan with parchment paper and spray again.
  4. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in bowl and set aside.
  5. Shred carrots in food processor fitted with large shredding disk. This should yield about 3 cups. Transfer carrots to bowl and set aside.
  6. Wipe food processor bowl clean and fit with metal blade.
  7. Process granulated and brown sugars and eggs until frothy and thoroughly combined, about 20 seconds.
  8. With machine running, stream in oil through feed tube. Process until light in color and well emulsified, about 20 seconds longer.
  9. Scrape mixture into another bowl. By hand, stir in carrots, nuts and flour mixture until well incorporated and no streaks of flour remain.
  10. Pour into pan and level batter. Drop pan on counter a few times from a height of about 4 inches.
  11. Place pan in oven on top of baking stone and bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes. Test with a toothpick for doness.
  12. Cool cake in pan on rack for about 2 hours.
  1. Cream butter with electric mixer until smooth.
  2. Add cream cheese and continue beating until smooth.
  3. Add vanilla and orange liqueur and mix to incorporate well.
  4. Add sugar 1 cup at a time and mix on low to moisten and then on high to smooth.
  5. Chill until ready to use.
It seems to me, if 1/2 cup of oil is omitted, 1 cup of coconut and 1 small can of crushed pineapple could be added and the moisture should be just about right. One could add fresh orange zest to the frosting for flavor and a speckled look.

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