Happy birthday dad! (kick-ass carrot cake)

This is the second part of my dad’s informal little family birthday party.

Who likes carrot cake? Dad likes carrot cake.

Birthday cakes are a big deal to me. I’ve made colourful cakes, mini cakes, Fourth of July cakes, ice cream cakes and fruitcakes. I think that a cake is the pinnacle of a party. There is nothing more beautiful than a cake done properly.

Achieving this beauty is something that I have failed at previously, and strived to get better at ever since. Need an illustration of said failure? Well, you asked!

Hilary Makes Cake, circa second-year university, approximately five months before I actually learned how to cook

Point is, I don’t take cake-making lightly. Which is why I wanted my dad’s birthday cake to be perfect. He requested carrot cake and so, off I went to browse the big ol’ World Wide Web for something worthy of my time, attention, and family. I found this. Simple and impressive.

There’s something about a tiered cake that really gets me going. It’s like the epic journey of cake making. This would make Odysseus proud. Carrot cake is also just about the most low maintenance, inexpensive desserts out there. Plus there’s vegetables in it. You know how I like cake vegetables.

A good cake layer reminds me of the perfect sandcastle base.

I don’t really have much else to say about this dessert, except for that it somehow managed to be both light and fluffy while also including so many delicious different textures, like pineapple, pecans and coarsely grated carrot. The cream cheese icing was so smoothly soft and was sweetened just so.

Dad liked.

Oh yes, and this recipe also made four little cupcakes. They have been hidden in the deep freeze, only to be snuck out at the most sugar desperate of times.

Recipe: Kick-ass carrot cake
Adapted from Sweetened with Honey
– 2 cups sugar
– 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
– 4 large eggs
– 2 cups all purpose flour
– 2 teaspoons cinnamon
– 2 teaspoons baking powder
– 1 teaspoon baking soda
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 3 cups grated carrots
– 1 cup crushed pineapple
– 1 cup sweetened coconut
– 1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350º F. Butter and flour two 8 inch cake pans. Pop liners in four normal sized muffin tin slots.In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar, and eggs until smooth. Stir in dry ingredients, in three different increments, until just combined.

Add carrots, pineapple, coconut, and pecans. Mix together. Divide evenly between pans.

Bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool in pan for 20 minutes. Invert onto cooling rack. Let cool completely.

Cinnamon cream cheese icing

– 16 oz. (two bricks) cream cheese, at room temperature
– 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
– 6 cups icing sugar
– 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
– 1 tablespoon cinnamonIn a large bowl, use your mixer to combine the cream cheese and butter. Add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, tasting after each cup is added (okay, perhaps this is only essential for me). Add the vanilla. Ice the cake and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Makes a two-tiered, 8 inch cake and four normal-sized cupcakes.

 

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