Monday, May 21, 2018

Carrot Cake


Carrot Cake (Source: Maida Heatter's Cakes (Andrews & McMeel Publishing, 2011 ed., pg. 176).

My father's favorite cake was Carrot Cake and my mother made it often and always on his birthday. I could not find my mother's recipe. While searching, I kept coming across recipes that had pineapple and hers did not have that. Maida to the rescue! She actually has several different Carrot Cake recipes but this is the one that I remember.

I decided to make this as a loaf cake so that it would be easy to share. I don't believe it made any difference in taste and it made two loaves. I also used pecans instead of walnuts. The cake is very, very moist and delicious. Of course, the icing is arguably the best thing about the cake!

The recipe calls for corn oil but you can use vegetable or saffron oil.

Cake

1 cup dark raisins
4 cups shredded carrots, firmly packed
2 cups minus 2 TBS. sifted all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 TBS. unsweetened cocoa powder
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 1/4 cups corn oil
1 1/2 cups walnuts, cut into medium-sized pieces

Preheat the oven to 350. Prepare three 9 inch cake pans (or you can use 2 loaf pans like I did) by buttering them and lining them with parchment paper. Dust with fine bread crumbs.

Steam the raisins (or you can let them soak in warm water for 5-10 minutes). Dry them on a paper towel.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and cocoa powder. Set aside.

Place the eggs in a mixing bowl and mix or whisk just enough to mix. Beat in the vanilla, both sugars and the oil. On low speed, add the dry ingredients. Stir in the carrots and the nuts.

Divide the batter among the pans and bake for 35-40 minutes until the tops spring back when lightly pressed. Remove from the oven and let it stand for about 2-3 minutes before turning them out. Allow the cake to cool completely. Freeze the cake for at least one hour or overnight before frosting it.

Cream Cheese Icing

16 ounces Philadelphia cream cheese (at room temperature)
4 ounces unsalted butter (at room temperature)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups sifted confectioners sugar

Beat the cream cheese and the butter until soft and smooth. Beat in the vanilla and sugar until smooth.

If you making a layer cake, apply the frosting between the layers as well as around the sides.

This frosting is one of the best things on earth!

(She also recommends decorating the cake with marzipan carrots and provides a recipe for them but I have not done this.)




Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Walnut Buttermilk Lemon Cake


Walnut Buttermilk Lemon Cake 
Source: Maida Heatter's Best Dessert Book Ever (Andrews & McMeel Publishing, 1997 ed.), pg. 113.

Recently, the New York Times published a story about Maida Heatter's East 62nd Lemon Cake. I tried another lemon pound cake recipe today that is equally good. This one is sprinkled with chopped walnuts and has a strong lemon flavor.

You will need about 5 or 6 lemons for the recipe (for the cake and the glaze). Three of the lemons will be zested. As the cake gets done, your house will smell like a bakery!

Also note that cake flour is called for instead of all-purpose.

This is a very easy recipe to make and quite delicious. Of course we had to try it immediately but we are going to try and freeze some of it for a get-together next week. Even though a glaze is involved, I think it should be fine since it is absorbed into the cake.

Cake

2 cups walnuts, chopped into medium-sized pieces
Finely grated rind of 2 or 3 large lemons (I used 3)
1/3 cup lemon juice
3 cups sifted cake flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
8 oz. (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
5 large eggs
2/3 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350. Butter or grease a Bundt pan and sprinkle with fine bread crumbs.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Mix the lemon juice and the lemon zest. Set aside.

Mix the butter until soft. Add the sugar and vanilla, mixing well. Add the eggs one at a time. On low speed, add half of the sifted flour mixture. Add the buttermilk, beating well and then add the remaining flour mixture. 

Stir in the lemon juice and then the walnuts.

Turn the batter into the pan and smooth the top. Bake for about an hour, until a cake tester comes out clean and the cake springs back when gently pressed.

Glaze

1/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup granulated sugar

Mix the two ingredients together while the cake is baking. Stir occasionally.

When the cake is done, let it stand for 10 minutes and then turn it out of the pan. Place it on a wire rack with parchment paper or foil underneath. Brush the glaze over the entire cake and let it completely cool.