Tuesday, April 22, 2008

TWD Bill’s Big Carrot Cake

Posted by BAKE-EN at 10:04 AM

Okay, I have to admit that I played around with this recipe a bit. First off, I decided to lighten it up. Summer is quickly approaching and if I ever want to see myself in a bathing suit (gasp), something's got to give! I cut back the oil and sugar in this recipe by 25% (¼ cup and ½ cup less respectively). I also subbed half the flour with whole wheat. I don't care for coconut, and I hate raisins in baked goods, so those were out as well. Due to the reduction in oil, I increased the carrots by ½ cup for extra moisture.

Even with all the changes, I really liked the resulting carrot cake. It was moist with great carrot and pecan flavor. I ended up making cupcakes, which I'll forever think of as Michelle's Big Carrot Cup Cakes, because they were huge! I baked the batter in 12 individual sized panettone wrappers (I like to think of them as upscale cupcake papers). The cakes rose so nicely that they were almost too tall to eat. The icing was nice, though next time I'll use vanilla extract and not lemon juice. I thought the lemon overpowered the cream cheese flavor a bit.

As a garnish, I candied some carrot strips and attempted to make ribbons out of the strips. Next time I'll use longer carrots because my strips were so short, it was difficult to tie the ribbon. I ended up breaking up some of the candied carrot strips and using them as confetti, which looked cute.

Luckily, my official taste tester was around to see if my changes to the recipe would result in an inferior product. After eating his first cupcake, Joe said "so, if they have less fat and whole wheat flour in them, I can eat another; right?" I'll call that cupcake success.

Pictures and recipe below. The changes I made are in italics.

Bill's Big Carrot Cake

Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan


For the cake:

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

¾ teaspoon salt

3 ½ cups grated carrots (about 10 carrots)

1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans

1 1/2 cups sugar

3/4 cup canola oil

4 large eggs

I didn't include: 1 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)

I didn't include: ½ cup moist, plump raisins (dark or golden) or dried cranberries

For the frosting:

8 ounces cream cheese (I used 1/3 less fat), 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

Candied carrot garnish

Getting ready:

I sprayed 12 cupcake liners with release spray and put them on a sheet pan. If you're making cakes, do this:

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:

Whisk the flour, baking powder, 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 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. 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.

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.

The cakes can be wrapped airtight and kept at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to 2 months.

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.

26 comments on "TWD Bill’s Big Carrot Cake"

steph- whisk/spoon on April 21, 2008 at 6:51 PM said...

they look sweet! good to know that you can cut back on the sugar and oil with success!

Bumblebutton on April 21, 2008 at 8:41 PM said...

I'm jealous that they didn't sink in your fancy cupcake papers! I live in Boston too--where did you get them? I'm guessing Sur la Table, or, am I wrong? Great job--and loved your success with the substitutions!

mimi on April 22, 2008 at 12:51 AM said...

your cupcakes look so sweet! absolutely love the candied carrot peel on top!

Marie on April 22, 2008 at 8:58 AM said...

I love the way you decorated your cupcakes and I love the cupcake wrappers. Well done!

BAKE-EN on April 22, 2008 at 8:59 AM said...


I actually got the cupcake papers when I lived in California. I liked them so much I moved them cross country with me :) I think I've seen them at Sur La Table before though. If I see them around, I'll let you know.

Amy on April 22, 2008 at 9:40 AM said...

The wrappers are so cute! Good to know that a lighter version is good, also... I'll have to try with your modifications.

Mevrouw Cupcake on April 22, 2008 at 9:54 AM said...

Your cupcakes look gorgeous, and I love the candied carrot strips!! Would you care to share your recipe?

LyB on April 22, 2008 at 11:18 AM said...

The idea of candied carrot strips is brilliant and love your cupcake wrappers!

Chris on April 22, 2008 at 11:54 AM said...

These look too good to eat!

I just saw those papers at Sur la Table - never used them before. Hmmm....ideas...ideas!

This is the first time I am visiting and I will definitely be back! I have had a recent series of de je vu Boston moments (Watching the Hungry Detective touring the North End, a visit on facebook from an old BU friend, and now reading Davis Square!) I have really been away too long! I miss Wilson's Farm.....:)

SiHaN on April 22, 2008 at 11:57 AM said...

i love the carrot jar in the background the most!

where did u get it from? i want one!!!

SiHaN on April 22, 2008 at 11:57 AM said...

i love the carrot jar in the background the most!

where did u get it from? i want one!!!

Annemarie on April 22, 2008 at 12:36 PM said...

They look adorable. I love the candied carrot, what a great idea!

PheMom on April 22, 2008 at 1:16 PM said...

Ok, I love it. Love it, love it, love it. Did I mention I love it! OK, enough. Great idea with the panetonne wrappers and the carrot strips. Your cupcakes seriously rock!

Melissa on April 22, 2008 at 1:25 PM said...

Your cupcake papers look great!

Jayne on April 22, 2008 at 5:00 PM said...

I love the candied carrot ribbons - what a great idea! And that last photo is wonderful!

Heather on April 22, 2008 at 7:45 PM said...

ohh! great idea with the wrappers! They look great!

Erin said...

Those are some nice and tall cupcakes you've got there! They look beautiful!

Gretchen Noelle on April 22, 2008 at 9:08 PM said...

Gracious! Adorable! I like the changes you made to make them healthier. Great job!

Sherry Trifle - Lovely Cats on April 22, 2008 at 9:17 PM said...

Lovely little cakes! The cylindrical paper cup is so much more gourmet than regular cupcake cups.

Robin on April 22, 2008 at 9:52 PM said...

What a great idea lightening this recipe up a bit. I'm glad it was a success and I love your cupcakes!

Shari on April 22, 2008 at 10:12 PM said...

I love those panettone wrappers! And the candied carrot ribbons is a great garnish!

Anonymous said...

I love the pannetone wrappers and the candied carrot idea.

Anonymous said...

Who knew carrot cake could be so elegant. Great job!

Jennifer on April 23, 2008 at 6:17 PM said...

The panettone wrapper idea is genius! Your cupcakes look beautiful.

Donna on April 25, 2008 at 1:18 AM said...

Your cake is beautiful in that tall paper liner! And the candied carrot is a novel idea!

Overseas pharmacy on September 13, 2011 at 10:33 AM said...

wow that look delicious thanks a lot for the recipe, you blog is very amazing, I love to make desserts but not to eat them haha xD


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