Monday, January 24, 2005

Carrot Cake

One of the only things keeping me from baking up a storm is that I need people to pawn my creations off on -- otherwise, Dan and I will consume an inordinate amount of food and end up on Maury Povich having to be airlifted out of our apartment. Several months ago, we were at Stew Leonards in Danbury shopping for ingredients to make dinner for my mom and we discovered their "half pies" -- basically, they package half a pie and charge you a little more than half the price of the full pie. While this challenges my frugalness, knowing that we'd only eat half a pie was a small price to pay for the markup.

This brings us to yesterday when I decide I'm going to make carrot cake. My initial thought was to make carrot cake cupcakes and freeze about half of them for later, but Dan complained that the texture of cupcakes is never the same as the whole cake, because the ratio of "crust" to interior is off. I agreed with him but still couldn't bear the thought of having an entire two-layer carrot cake lying around for us to pick at for the next week (or several days, depending upon how good it came out). Then it occured to me -- why not freeze one 8" cake and cut the other one in half and make half a two-layer cake? It's still 6 servings, but hopefully someone will come by in the next day or two to have some.

Since the constant inspiration for cooking is the vegetables we have around, carrot cake seemed like a natural choice. Carrots are good in stir-fries and we've recently remembered to cook some to go along with dinner, but we have not yet found a carrot based soup we liked and nearly every week we get another pound of carrots, so they quickly accummulate. I had seen a recipe on Cookinglight.com which used apple butter (it's easy to make in your slow cooker) and another in Bonnie Stern's cookbook and decided to marry the two in what turned out to be not only a moist and delicious carrot cake, but fairly healthy too.

Carrot Cake
adapted from Cooking Light and Bonnie Stern's Heart Smart Cooking for Family and Friends

Ingredients:
1 C all-purpose flour
1 C whole wheat flour
1/2 C sugar
1/2 C light brown sugar
2 t baking soda
2 t ground cinnamon
1 t salt
1/2 C apple butter
1/2 C vegetable oil
1 T vanilla
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
3 cups shredded carrot, about a pound (using the food processor makes this easy, though a box grater will work as well)
cooking spray
1/4 C sour cream
1 C confectioners sugar
1/4 t vanilla
1/4 t lemon juice

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350. Combine flours, sugars, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a bowl and mix with a whisk.
2. In a separate bowl, combine apple butter, vegetable oil, vanilla, eggs, and egg whites.
3. Create a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients, mixing just until combined. Fold in shredded carrots.
4. Spray two 8" round pans with cooking spray and split batter evenly between pans. Bake for 30 minutes -- a toothpick inserted in the cake should come out clean or with a few crumbs.
5. Cool the cakes on a wire rack for about 10 minutes before removing from the pans and cooling completely on the rack.
6. To make the frosting (which is really more of a glaze) combine the sour cream, vanilla and lemon juice. Add in the sugar, whisking well. It will be a bit runny, but it sets up nicely on the cake if you apply a thin layer.

Personally, I cut one 8" cake in half and stacked the two layers. (I cheated, using a toothpick between the layers to ensure they didn't slide off.) I wrapped the other cake in Saran Wrap and then foil, and placed in a plastic bag in my freezer for another day.

9 Comments:

Blogger Cathy said...

Hi Heather - I just came across your blog and like it very much! When I started reading this post I was practically nodding my head in agreement - I have the same problem. I would love to bake lots more than I do, but the problem is what to do with all of it! Your idea for making a half-cake is great!

7:39 PM  
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7:30 PM  

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