Saturday, June 30, 2012

birthday {carrot cake}

Another year...another birthday...another excuse to make a cake. :)  My actual birthday was spent with family over the weekend.  We stayed at my sister's & my parents were able to join us as well.  It was great to see everyone!  We went to Strawberry Fest, had a bonfire every night, and went to my favorite place for brunch and bloody marys on my birthday.  

Here are some photos of my birthday brunch...

"The frenchie" at Trocadero... 
 My beautiful niece...
 ...and adorable nephew
 My parents <3
My gorgeous sister & niece...

me & the hubby (photo by my sister 
 I had a party with my co-workers this week and I made this carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.  I've been wanting to decorate a cake with roses for a long time and I finally had an occasion to do it. :)  I was happy with how it turned out and even happier that it was super easy!  You can follow this tutorial for ideas. I used the Wilton 2D tip for the roses and layered them all over the cake - mostly doing two swirls, sometimes smaller on the sides.  

I have used this recipe for cupcakes previously...but it works just as good for cake!  I did use a different recipe for frosting though, since I needed it to be a little stiffer consistency for the roses.  

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/3 tsp baking powder
Scant 3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves 
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground ginger
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1/3 tsp salt
1/3 cup canola oil
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp dark corn syrup (or molasses)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tsp mayonnaise 
1 1/4 rounded cups packed coarsely grated carrots (about 3 to 4 medium) (Lightly squeeze excess juice out of the grated carrots and apple before measuring.)
1/4 cup packed coarsely grated apple (about 1/2 medium)
1/4 to 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 round 9-inch cake pans lightly with butter, then lightly flour and shake off excess (make sure flour covers the entire pan or cake can stick). Sift flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, spices, pepper, and salt together into a large bowl. Whisk to ensure they are combined.

In a separate bowl, combine the oil, melted butter, dark corn syrup, vanilla, eggs, and mayonnaise. Add the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, and stir until almost combined. Stir the carrots, apple, and walnuts into the batter.

Divide the batter between the 2 cake pans. Bake until a toothpick or thin knife inserted in the center of a cake comes out mostly clean, about 20 minutes.  Let cakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Transfer them to wire racks and let cool completely before frosting.  

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz. cream cheese
4 oz. unsalted butter
4 oz. vegetable shortening
2 tsp. vanilla (I use 1 tsp. vanilla bean paste & 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract) 
4 cups powdered sugar
1-2 tsps. milk

Combine cream cheese, butter, and shortening, and vanilla and mix until creamy.  Slowly add powdered sugar.  Add milk as needed.  Frost cake as desired! 

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