Friday, April 25, 2008

Carrot Cake

CSC, our resident "mommy", has recently taken up baking. We cajoled her into becoming a guest baking blogger. So, ladies and gentlemen, heeeeeeeeeeeerrrrree's CSC!!!

I really LOVE this America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook (ATK).

I'm a newbie in the kitchen, so I don't really have much confidence in making anything edible. So KNOWING that America's Test Kitchen has already figured out the best and easiest way to do things gives me reassurance that as long as I follow their recipes, then I have a fairly good chance of success.

Plus, some of their baked goods recipes, you don't need a mixer! Just bowls, whisk and spatula. Easier when there's kids involved.

Also, the recipe book is in a binder. So it's easy take out and photocopy the recipe that we keep using. (I hate trying to fit a thick book in the photocopier and not "crack" the binding, don't you?) Buy it! =D

So, the carrot cake.

Dry ingredients:
2-1/2 cups flour
1-1/4 tspn baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/4 tspn cinnamon
1/2 tspn nutmeg
1/8 tspn cloves
1/2 tspn salt

The dry ingredients here were all measured using the "smallest common measure", meaning I was using 1/4 tsp to measure out the various spices and the 1/2 measuring cup to measure out the flours (and later, sugar and vegetable oil).

To whisk together:
4 large eggs, room temperature
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

I didn't like the brown sugar lumping together like this, so I had to fish them out and crumble them up. I wish I had crumbled them up first before incorporating with the eggs.

Next to whisk in:
1-1/2 cups vegetable oil

We needed 2 people here because the recipe said: "While whisking, slowly add the oil ..." So TS was whisking and I was pouring. Of course, I was really SLOW in pouring in the oil that TS had to say, "Just dump it all in!" Hahaha. When my kids and I did this the 2nd time, my son just poured "steadily" while I whisked. Turned out great!

Next was whisking in the dry ingredients into the wet.

I think the "hardest" most time consuming part of this recipe would be the grating of the carrots, but having a food processor with the grater attachment solved this problem.

1 pound carrots, peeled & grated

This batter is from the first cake. This first time we made the carrot cake, we had to stop just before we mixed the dry and wet ingredients together (dinner had to be made). So I placed the wet ingredients (eggs with sugar) in the refrigerator. When it was time to mix the wet & dry ingredients together, the resulting batter was quite thick and had to be manually spread out onto the pan.

The 2nd time we made the cake, the eggs were at room temperature when they were mixed to the dry ingredients. The recipe called for "eggs, at room temperature". The 2nd batter was still thick but had more fluidity to it that it "settled" to the corners of the pan by itself after a few seconds. So I didn't have to worry about "unevenness" with the 2nd cake (didn't have that at the 1st cake anyway, but I still worried).

I baked this in a 9 x 13" cake pan at 350 F. It was done in about 30 to 40 minutes.

The first cake was good, but a little tough. I did everything correctly for the 2nd cake. It was delicious!

CSC and CSC-collaborated blog posts:
Carrot Cake
Lemon Bars
Cheesecake-Marbled Brownies
Mario's Pine Nut and Ricotta Tart
Shanghai Potstickers, Faux Siu Mai and "Huo Tyeh" (aka CSC's Chinese Dumplings)
Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Quick and Rice Chocolate Frosting

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