Birthdays, Cakes

Happy Birthday Mom! & Carrot Cake

April 23, 2009

First off I’d like to wish my mom a Happy Birthday!! As I mentioned earlier, my mom has been away at the Dominican Republic for a week! And today is her Birthday! But she isn’t home til tomorrow, friday, missing her birthday! So I thought I would bake her a cake so she could have it when she gets home! A birthday isn’t a birthday without cake! Also, I’ve gotten my final grades back and was super happy to receive a B in Biology! So all that stressing, and even lack of baking paid off! So, I think I deserve a piece of cake too!

Ever since I made the Zucchini cake I’ve been wanting to make a carrot cake, mostly so I could use my shredder attachment again! But also, my mom loves carrot cake as well! I was originally going to make another one from the Joy of Cooking, but then compared the two and liked the additions of coconut to the cake, also it seemed to make more. So, from the book I got for my birthday last year, Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From my home to yours, I decided to try out her Bill’s Big Carrot Cake. So far I’ve loved everyting I’ve baked from it, including the white out devils food cake, which I made for my brother’s birthday in March, which was de-licious!! So here’s the recipe for the carrot cake! It’s definitely a winner.

Bill’s Big Carrot Cake

From Baking: from my home to yours by Dorie Greenspan
Yields 10 servings


For the cake:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups grated carrots (about 9 carrots, you can grate them in food processor fitted with a shredding a blade or use a box grater, i used my KitchenAid with the shredding blade and baby carrots)
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 1 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
  • ½ cup moist, plump raisins
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • *I also added about a cup of crushed & drained pineapple

Getting ready:

Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter three 9-x-2-inch round cake pans, flour the insides, and tap out the excess. Put the two pans on one baking sheet and one on another.

To make the cake:

  1. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, stir together the carrots, chopped nuts, coconut, and raisins.
  2. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the sugar and oil together on a medium speed until smooth. Add the eggs one by one and continue to beat until the batter is even smoother. It will resemble custard or Jell-o at this point.
  3. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture, mixing only until the dry ingredients disappear. Gently mix the chunky ingredients. Divide the batter among the baking pans.
  4. 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 unmold them. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.
  5. The cakes can be wrapped airtight and kept at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to 2 months.
*I didn’t want to make three layers with the hastle of fitting them in the oven, so i made two larger layers and it worked out just as well. You could also make it into a sheet cake or even bake it in a bundt cake pan.

For the frosting:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 stick ( 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 pound or 3 and ¾ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or ½ teaspoon pure lemon extract
  • ½ cup shredded coconut (optional)
  • Finely chopped toasted nuts and/or toasted shredded coconut (optional)

To make the frosting:
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until the frosting is velvety smooth. Beat in the lemon juice or extract. If you’d like coconut in the filling, scoop about half of the frosting and stir the coconut in.

*I toasted some coconut beforehand, and sprinkled it on top of the first layer in the middle of the cake.

To assemble the cake:
Put one layer top side up on a cardboard cake round or a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper. If you added the coconut to the frosting, use half of the coconut frosting to generously cover the first layer (or generously cover with plain frosting). Use an offset spatula or a spoon to smooth the frosting all the way to the edges of the layer. Top with the second layer, this time placing the cake stop side down, and frost with the remainder of the coconut frosting or plain frosting. Top with the last layer, right side up, and frost the top- and the sides- of the cake. Finish the top with swirls of frosting. If you want to top the cake with toasted nuts or coconut, sprinkle them on now while the frosting is soft. Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes, just to set the frosting before serving.

This cake can be served as soon as the frosting is set. It can also wait, at room temperature and covered with a cake keeper overnight. The cake is best served in thick slices at room temperature and while it’s good plain, it’s even better with vanilla ice cream or some lemon curd.

Happy Birthday Mom! xox From Me & The animals

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  • Reply Elissa April 23, 2009 at 7:26 PM

    Jeez, what a beautiful cake! I especially love the flowers. I love carrot cake a lot – the cinnamon spice profile, the moistness of the carrot, and of course the cream cheese frosting! Happy birthday to your mother, I’m sure she’ll find it stunning! (:

  • Reply Coco Bean April 24, 2009 at 3:50 PM

    awww your cat is so cute, she looks just like mine, coco bean chanel (can you tell I am going to be one of those crazy cat ladies in a couple of years!) She also tries to make it into the light box while we are taking pictures. Happy Birthday to your mother, you must be the favorite child with that cake! Oh, and congrats on passing biology, it can get tough. I have had you on my blog roll for a while but something happened and I lost all of my gadgets this week… and I have been lazy putting everything back…sorry.

  • Reply sistermarycupcake April 26, 2009 at 8:53 PM

    It also makes amazing cupcakes!

  • Reply Alicia April 27, 2009 at 11:33 AM

    oh yum! Im sure they would be so good as a cupcake, with that cream cheese icing!! Too bad we’ve finished the entire thing..yesterday. haha

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