I admit I haven't baked a lot of layer cakes. For sure, I haven't baked many from scratch. One of the first was this one. The results were great and left me feeling encouraged to bake more layer cakes. One of my 2010 cooking resolutions is to attend cake decorating classes. I wish I had done that before this week, so my cake would be even a fraction as beautiful as some of the other SMS bakers.
Baking a layer cake always takes me back to my childhood. My mother made a lot of layer cakes. Although no one recipe sticks in my mind. Do you think that's because the mind isn't what it used to be? I remember when she was baking a cake and I would come stomping into the kitchen, she'd say walk softly or you'll make the cake fall. We had to tiptoe through the kitchen. We didn't dare think about opening the door. I opened the door at one point on this cake and could hear my mother scolding me!
The only carrot cake I've ever made uses baby food carrots. It's a delicious moist cake and so easy to put together. This cake was relatively easy to put together. The most time consuming part is grating the carrots. If you have a food processor, it makes it easier.
I've read some of the other Sweet Melissa bloggers comments about the 1 1/2 tablespoons of cinnamon in this recipe being a typo. I thought it seemed liked a lot but I love cinnamon, so I didn't hesitate to go ahead with tablespoons instead of teaspoons.
When I tested the cake at 40 minutes, it was done. I was concerned that it might be overdone but it was perfect.
I'm sad to say this wasn't the to die for carrot cake recipe. I thought this cake was good but not great. The texture is the moist texture you expect in a carrot cake but the cake is lacking in flavor. I liked the bites with frosting much better than the ones without. I am glad I used the cinnamon as tablespoons and not teaspoons or it would have really been lacking in flavor. I am anxious to see what the other Sweet Melissa Sunday's bakers thought of this recipe.
Along with each recipe in the book, Melissa shares a story or some other tidbit about the recipe you are making. Melissa made this cake for her sisters wedding.
Carrot Cake with Fresh Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
- makes one 8-inch cake -
From...The Sweet Melissa Baking Book, by Melissa Murphy.
For the cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
4 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound carrots, grated medium fine
3/4 cup walnut pieces, coarsely chopped
For the fresh orange cream cheese frosting:
12 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
Zest of 1 orange
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softene
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Before you start
Position a rack in the center of your oven. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter and flour two 8x2-inch round cake pans. Line each pan with an 8-inch round of parchment paper.
To make the cake
1. in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and baking powder.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment, beat the eggs at high speed until light and frothy, about 1 minute. Decrease the speed to medium and add the oil, sugar, and salt, and mix until just combined. Decrease the speed to low and add the flour mixture, mixing until just combined.
3. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the carrots and walnuts.
4. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans. Spin the pans to level the batter. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove to a rack to cool for 20 minutes before turning the layers out onto the rack. Cool completely before filling or frosting.
To make the frosting
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, sugar, and zest. Start on low speed and then increase to medium-high speed and beat until smooth, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
2. Add the butter and mix on medium speed until just fluffy and smooth, about 45 seconds more. Add the vanilla and mix until just combined. Do not overbeat.
To complete the cake
1. Cut 4 strips of wax or parchment paper about 12 inches long by 3 inches wide. Place the bottom cake layer trimmed side up on your serving plate. Tuck the wax paper under the edges of your cake on all sides. Later, after frosting the cake, you can pull away the stripes to reveal a nice clean serving plate.
2. Using a metal offset spatula, spread the filling across the top of the layer, but leave about 1/2 inch uncovered around the outside edges. (This leaves room for the filling to be squished down but to stay inside the cake.)
3. Place the second layer trimmed side down on top of the filling and press down gently with your hands.
4. Apply a light, even layer of frosting on all sides of the cake. Place the cake in the refrigerator to chill for a good 30 minutes.
5. After the crumb coat has chilled, smooth on your final layer of frosting.
The cake keeps in a cake saver in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. It tastes great eaten at room temperature or chilled.