Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Katrina's Divine Carrot Cake
Katrina calls this "Divine Carrot Cake." I now call it, "The Cake That Saved Me From Disaster."
I had plans to surprise someone with a birthday cake made from scratch. I had the recipe all picked out and was so sure that it was going to turn out perfectly. That night, I mixed it up, baked it up, and . . . was stunned in disappointment. The cake was flat, lacked flavor, and had an odd texture. Worse still, it STUCK to my pans!!! I chalked part of the failure to the recipe and the rest to human error, fate, incompetence, whatever you want to call it. But, regardless of where to put the blame, it was a definite no-go. Into the trash it went.
I just couldn't understand it. How is it that I can make cookies, brownies, breads even and yet, cakes seem to give me trouble. I was almost ready to throw in the towel and just go get a boxed mix (egads, the horror!!!). But, then I decided to give things one more try and use a different recipe. Carrot cake seemed like a good idea, and, although Bill's Big Carrot Cake was delicious, I wanted to try something different. I remembered that Katrina had a carrot cake recipe on her blog that she raved about, so I immediately went to check it out. It's a lot healthier than other carrot cake recipes since it uses pineapple for moisture, which allows you to cut back on the sugar and oil.
I did make a few changes to the recipe. I used all-purpose flour, omitted the nuts and coconut, and added some ginger powder. I also subbed in 1/2 cup of brown sugar because I realized while I was making the cake that I was running super low on granulated sugar (are you kidding me??!!). This time around, I meticulously greased the pans, then put down a wax paper circle, then greased and floured the wax paper as well before pouring the batter in. I made sure to beat the batter good and hard and crossed my fingers.
Oh my gosh!!! This cake did NOT let me down. It baked up beautifully, came out of the pans without a hitch, was super moist, and tasted like a dream come true. I frosted it with a lemon cream cheese frosting adapted from the one on Cinnamon, Spice, and Everything Nice and it was carrot cake perfection. The birthday surprise was a hit! The cake was proclaimed a keeper and I had redeemed myself completely.
Thank you Katrina for saving my birthday surprise. And THAT is why I am nicknaming this cake, "The Cake That Saved Me From Disaster."
Divine Carrot Cake (adapted from Baking and Boys)
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger powder
1 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 c. buttermilk
1/2 c. canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla
4 Tbsp. pineapple juice, reserved from canned pineapple
16 oz. canned crushed pineapple, drained-juice reserved
2 c. grated carrots
Grease two 9" round cake pans. Cut out a circle of waxed paper or parchment paper to fit inside and grease the paper as well. Flour the pans.
Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger powder in a medium sized bowl. In another bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, brown sugar, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and reserved pineapple juice until blended. Stir in pineapple and carrots. Add the dry ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula just until blended. Scrape the batter into the prepared pans and spread evenly. Bake for 30-40 min. or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in pans for 10 min. before removing to cool completely on wire rack. Frost with lemon cream cheese frosting when completely cool.
Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting (adapted from Cinnamon, Spice, and Everything Nice)
8 oz. cream cheese
8 oz. Neufchatel cheese
4 Tbsp. butter
2 c. powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. lemon zest
In a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese, butter, lemon juice and zest until light and fluffy. Beat in powdered sugar until fluffy and of a good spreading consistency.