Sunday, April 12, 2020

Spiced Carrot Cake

Spiced Carrot Cake

Happy Easter! Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Allen and I are celebrating Easter Sunday at home and not with our family this year. At least I saw my brother and Mom yesterday for a little while so that was nice! I understand "social distancing" is necessary right now to "flatten the curve," but I do not like to be confined! Working from home 5 days a week, and staying in and only going out to pick up groceries or to go to the pharmacy is a bit much for me. Even though I am an introvert and generally love being home, isn't it ironic I just want to be outside. I tend to stare out my window these days and people watch. I see them walking and going about their business. Most wear masks or some kind of face covering and others do not. I just pray for it to be over sooner than later. I long to be able to go out again around my neighborhood and do shopping in the stores I used to frequent. I am not a fan of riding the train and prefer taking the bus, but it has been over a month since I used public transportation for fear of catching this virus. I am always fearing catching the virus... I use a car service when I have to, but I am even scared of doing that even though drivers wear a mask. I am afraid of being around people in public now. I do not want this to be the new normal. My heart goes out to everyone that is sick and lost their life from all age groups due to this virus. I am so thankful and appreciative to the doctors, nurses and healthcare workers, home health aides, EMT, FDNY, and NYPD and everyone working during this time all putting their health at risk. I have not ordered takeout in over a month due to fear of catching the virus, but I am tired of cooking everyday and crave Chinese takeout and NY Pizza.

Spiced Carrot Cake

I digress... To get my mind off this, I baked today to destress and calm my nerves and because baking makes me happy. Last month, I was gifted by my colleague Carole, The Beekman 1802 The Cookbook by Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell with Sandy Gluck. The Beekman is a historic farm in Upstate New York and features over 100 heirloom recipes. I look forward to making many of the recipes from this cookbook. The Spiced Cake recipe was very appealing to me as it has a wonderful array of spices. The recipe uses cashews but I use pecans as that was what I had in my pantry. I also added pure vanilla extract and substituted granulated sugar for dark brown sugar for more depth of flavor. The crumb is a bit dense, but with each bite you get nuts, grated carrots, and the aromatic spices making this a rich and flavorful cake. The cream cheese frosting is not too sweet, and with the addition of lemon curd filling it is a great balance of tart and sweet. All in all, this is one spectacular cake. You can make the lemon curd a day ahead as I did. Just take it out of the fridge to come to room temperature when you are ready to add as filling in the center of the cake. I hope you are all enjoying some time in the kitchen cooking and baking with your loved ones.

Cake Ingredients
2 cups All Purpose Flour

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

1 teaspoon Ground Cardamom

1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

1 teaspoon Ground Ginger

1⁄4  teaspoon Ground Allspice

1⁄2 teaspoon Coarse Salt

1⁄2 cup (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, melted and cooled to room temperature

1 cup Granulated Sugar (I use Dark Brown Sugar)

4 Large Eggs, room temperature

1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

3 cups Carrots, grated

2⁄3 cup Roasted Salted Cashews, coarsely chopped (I use Toasted Pecans)

Spiced Carrot Cake

Heat oven to 350°F.

Spray cake pans or lightly butter/flour 2, 8" or 9" cake pans; set aside.

Place pecans on baking sheet.

Bake for 6-8 minutes until slightly browned.

Remove from oven, cool completely and chop; set aside.

Melt the butter in a microwave safe bowl for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or use a small pan over medium heat and turn off stove once melted.

Cool completely; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and salt; set aside.

With a hand held or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the melted butter and sugar on medium speed until smooth and creamy; about 1 minute.

Scrape sides of bowl with a spatula and mix again for 5-10 seconds.

Add eggs one a time and mix until combined.

Add the vanilla extract and mix just until incorporated.

Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix for 5 seconds.

Fold in with a spatula the carrots and pecans.

The batter is somewhat thick. Don't be alarmed.

Pour batter into cake pans, 2/3 full.

Tap pans on the counter to remove any air bubbles.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. My cake baked in 25 minutes.

Remove from oven and after 10 minutes run a knife or small spatula along the edge of the pans.

Cool cake in pans for 30 minutes, and then invert onto a wire rack lined with parchment paper to cool completely.

Spiced Carrot Cake

Lemon Curd Ingredients
1 1⁄2 cups Granulated Sugar

1⁄4 cup Cornstarch

1⁄4 cup Lemon Zest

1 teaspoon Coarse Salt

10 Egg Yolks

1 cup Lemon Juice, freshly squeezed

Spiced Carrot Cake

Whisk together sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest, and salt in a medium sized sauce pan on low heat.

Add yolks, and whisk until smooth.

Stir in the lemon juice.

Stirring often, bring to a boil over medium heat.

Cook, stirring constantly, until very thick; about 3 minutes.

Remove from heat and let cool completely.

Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.

Chill the lemon curd in the fridge overnight or for 3-4 hours before adding as filling in the center of the cake.

Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients
16 ounces Cream Cheese, softened

1 cup (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened

3⁄4 cup Powdered Sugar

1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

1 drop Turquoise Chefmaster Gel Food Color, optional

Spiced Carrot Cake

While the cake is cooling make the cream cheese frosting.

With a hand held or stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment on medium speed, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth and fluffy; about 2 minutes.

Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract and beat until well combined; about 2 minutes.

Optional: Add 1 drop of the gel food color and mix until combined.

Place strips of parchment or wax paper over the edges of cake plate, cake turntable or cake stand.

Place bottom layer top side up (use serrated knife if top is not flat to remove excess) and spread the lemon curd with a spatula or knife all over the top leaving half an inch around the edge.

So yummy!

Place the other layer top side down over it, gently press down, and frost the cake with a spatula.

Add sprinkles, sugar decorations if desired. I use bunny and chick sugar decorations and M&M Eggs.

Place the cake in fridge to set.

Remove 1/2 hour from fridge before serving so it comes to room temperature.

Store cake up to 5 days covered in the fridge.


-Sophia/Two Frys