Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Happy Birthday Dadddd....

So, it was my dad's birthday the other day, and I was sooo thrilled when both he and my mom asked me to bake. His actual birthday was on a sunday, but we made reservations that saturday night for dinner, at his good friends restaurant on Melrose called ComeCa. It's a fairly new restaurant, that has a sort of old, french type of cuisine. Verrrry good. 

Any way, I knew his absolute FAVORITE type of cake was carrot cake. So I of course went to my "baking bible", Dorie Greenspan's Baking from my home to yours, and decided to make "Bills Big Carrot Cake."

It was actually easier than I thought, and turned out GREAT. But then again, ALL of Dories recipes turn out great. I served it with some vanilla ice cream, and my whole family loved it. I've so far made this cake 3 times in the past, and this is always my go-to recipe for carrot cake.

Bills Big Carrot Cake:
From "Baking from my home to yours"
For the cake-
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground cinnamon 
3/4 tsp. salt
3 cups grated carrots
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
1 cup shredded coconut(sweetened or unsweetened)
1/2 cup moist, plump raisins(dark or golden)- I used dark
2 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil or safflower oil( I used regular canola)
4 large eggs

For the Frosting-
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temp.
1 stick(8 Tbs.) unsalted butter, at room temp.
1 pound(3 3/4 cups) confectioners sugar, sifted
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice 
1/2 cup shredded coconut (optional)

Getting ready-
Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat to 325 F. Butter three 9x2 inch round cake pans, flour the insides and tap out the excess. Put two pans on one baking sheet, and one on another.

To make the cake-
Whisk together the flour, baking power, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, stir together the carrots, chopped nuts, coconut and raisins. 

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with hand mixer in a large bowl, beat sugar and oil together on medium speed until smooth. Add the eggs one by one, and continue to beat until the batter is even smoother. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture, mixing only until the dry ingredients disappear. Gently mix in the chunky ingredients. Divide the batter among the pans. 

Bake for 40-50 minutes, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point, until a thin knife inserted into the centers comes out clean; the cakes will have just started to come away from the sides of the pans. Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes and un-mold them. Invert, and cool to room temp. right side up.

To make the frosting-
Working with the stand mixer, preferably fitted with a pattle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until the frosting is velvety smooth. Beat in the lemon juice.
If you would like coconut in the filling, scoop out about half of the frosting and stir the coconut into this portion.

To assemble the cake-
Put one layer top side up on a cardboard cake round or protected by strips of parchment paper. If you added the coconut to the frosting, use half of the coconut frosting to generously cover the first layer. Use an offset cake spatula, or spoon to spread the frosting all the way to the edges of the layer. Top with second layer, this time placing the cake top side down, and frost with the remainder of the coconut frosting. Top with the last layer, right side up, and frost the top. Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes, just to set the frosting before serving.
Make sure to serve with a nice BIG scoop of vanilla ice cream =]]

**I wanted to frost the WHOLE cake, cause I know my family loves frosting, so I had to double the recipe for the frosting, and covered the whole cake.
Although, just frosting in between the layers of course works out fine.

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