Monday, April 16, 2012

Mini Carrot Cake

It's my beloved's birthday, and the only kind of cake he really enjoys is carrot cake.
  • Unsalted butter, at room temperature, for greasing the cans
  • 3/4 C + 2 Tbsp sifted all-purpose flour, plus more for flouring the cans
  • 1/4 C + 2 Tbsp buttermilk
  • 1/4 C vegetable oil
  • yolk of 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 C sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 C grated carrots
  • 2 Tbsp raisins
  • 2 Tbsp chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 2 Tbsp sweetened flaked coconut
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh or canned pineapple, well drained (optional)
  • Cream Cheese Frosting
1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Grease the insides of the cans and lightly dust them with flour, tapping out the excess. Place the cans on a baking sheet for easier handling, and set aside.
3. Place the buttermilk, oil, egg yolk, and vanilla in a small bowl and stir to mix.
4. Place the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a medium-size mixing bowl and whisk to blend well. Add the buttermilk mixture and whisk just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Fold in the carrots, raisins, nuts, coconut, and pineapple if using.
5. Spoon the batter into the prepared cans, dividing it evenly between them. Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted in the center of one comes out clean, 37 to 39 minutes.
6. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and transfer the cans to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Then run a thin, sharp knife around the edge of each can, and invert the cans to release the cakes. Turn the cakes upright and let them cool on the rack. (The cakes can be wrapped individually in plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days)
7. To frost cakes, cut each in half horizontally. Spread a layer of the Cream Cheese Frosting about 1/4 inch thick on the cut side of one cake half, then stack the other half on top of it. Frost the top and sides of the cake. Repeat with the remaining cake and frosting. (Frosted cakes can be stored loosely but well covered with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days)

Robyn's notes: I can't eat many of the ingredients in carrot cake, so instead of making two mini cakes in recycled cans, I made one mini cake in a 4 inch springform pan. This left a little leftover batter, but not too much. I did not use the pineapple, and I chose walnuts over pecans. The cake, possibly because of the difference in pan, had to cook for 46 minutes. The picture below is prior to frosting the cake. I (obviously) did not frost according to the instructions given, because he's not a big fan of frosting. I just cut the rounded top off and frosted the top in a single layer, then added the frosting carrot.

**** 4 Stars: Very Good. Enjoyed by us both, I will make this frequently

Small Batch Cream Cheese Frosting

For frosting Mini Carrot Cake.
  • 4 oz cream cheese, cubed, at room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 C confectioner's sugar
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1. Place the cream cheese and butter in a medium-size bowl, and cream them with a fork or a hand-held electric mixer on medium speed until smooth, about 45 seconds. Sift the confectioner's sugar over the cream cheese mixture; then beat, using a hand-held mixture on medium speed, until the frosting is creamy. Stir in the vanilla. Use immediately, or cover and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before serving.

Robyn's notes: the recipe says this makes 1 Cup. It made a lot more than that, which is something I've noticed with this author's frosting recipes. She always says they make one cup, they always make significantly more than that. I spooned out a few Tablespoons of the completed frosting into two small bowls. To one I added a drop of green food colouring and stirred; to the other I added one drop red, one drop yellow and stirred. When I had a small bowl of green frosting, a small bowl of orange frosting, and a large bowl of white frosting, I used the white for frosting the cake as usual, then dropped a small amount of orange frosting onto it in the shape of a triangle. At the fat end of the triangle I dropped a small amount of green frosting, using a toothpick to shape it until I had a tiny carrot made out of frosting.  This can be seen in the photo of the frosted cake, linked above.

*** 3 Stars: Good. At least one of us liked this enough for me to make it again, but not often