Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Carrot Cake

Years ago, I cut out an article in one of my cooking magazines about cake and ratios. It talked about the ratios: of sugar = flour and eggs = butter... as well as eggs + liquid = sugar. It was a lovely article and I was thirsty for more information. About a year ago, at a party, I met the sister-in-law of a friend here who is a food scientist. How cool is that? She works at Mars and has to work with caramel and nougat extruders. Not to mention the chocolate. Can you imagine walking into work every day to the smell of chocolate? She recommended a cooking textbook: McGee's Food and Cooking and so I bought it. Granted, it is huge, so I have not yet read the whole thing. But whenever I pick it up, I want to read the rest! Can you imagine being excited about a text book? It is amazing.

But I digress. This post is about Carrot Cake, so I will bring it on. Using only these ratios I began to fiddle around with a carrot cake recipe.  I had the Belimar book's Carrot Bundt cake recipe to start with and one from my aunt. It really only took me a few tries (I got lucky!) and I had a hunch that I was onto something.
If you are hoping for cupcakes, half of this recipe makes about 15 muffins/cupcakes (bake for 25 minutes). (Don't get me started on the difference between a muffin and a cupcake.)

Carrot Cake
400 g (3 and 1/4 cup) all-purpose flour (use the Zeeuwse Bloem in Nederland)
200 g (1 cup) sugar (fijn suiker)
220 g (1 cup) brown sugar (light bastard suiker)
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp all-spice (or 1/8 tsp cloves)
1/2 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
2 egg yolks (37 g)
5 whole eggs (270 g)
1 1/4 cup vegetable oil (300 ml)
2/3 cup buttermilk (150 ml karne melk)
2 cups shredded carrots (275 g)
1 cup toasted walnuts (120g)

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (176 degrees C). Grease and flour two 9" round cake pans and line with parchment. Grease and flour the parchment.
2. Mix the dry ingredients (flour through salt)
3. Beat eggs lightly, add oil, buttermilk and mix until combined. Fold in dry ingredients. Fold in carrots and walnuts.
4. Pour batter into the prepared pans and spread evenly. Bake 30 to 40 minutes, checking after 30 min using the toothpick test (does it come out clean) and the press-test (lightly touch the center of the cake with your finger and see if it springs back. If it does not spring back, it is not done)
5. Run a knife around the edges of the cakes. Wait about 10 minutes and then turn cakes out onto a wire rack. Allow cake to cool completely before frosting. I used the Cooks Country Cream Cheese frosting recipe.
The first time I made this cake was for my friend Viktorija's birthday. I followed advice from Hello Cupcake and made sunflowers from oreos.
Another time I made this cake was for my husband's birthday, and I spelled his name with raisins on the top as the decoration. A bit low-brow compared to the sunflowers, no? But he just wanted to eat the cake! And it was good.
Viktorija requested carrot cake for her birthday again this year and so I obliged. And I even remembered to take a photo of the inside of the cake.