It's Tuesday once again, and you know what that means...the latest episode of Tuesdays with Dorie! This recipe was chosen by Amanda of slow like honey, and I was pretty pumped about making a carrot cake. That is, until I saw the recipe for this cake; spanning over two pages, the recipe had a decent-sized ingredient list and there were a lot of instructions to go with it. Bill's Big Carrot Cake. The name of the recipe even seemed intimidating. Plus, I had never attempted making a layer cake before, and I wasn't sure if this week was the greatest time-wise to be challenging myself with that sort of task since I'm trying to memorize all the steps in doing a physical exam by Thursday.

Then Megan came to the rescue. She informed me last week that the recipe could be cut in half easily and suggested that I make cupcakes. Her tip worked like a charm! When cut in half, the recipe in Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours, makes 14 perfect little cupcakes (not mini cupcakes, though; these are regular-sized ones). I was tempted to squeeze all of the batter into 12 cupcakes, but other members of TWD said that they were having problems with overflowing cupcakes and sinking ones as well.

Ingredients:

For the cake (halved from the original recipe in the book):

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups grated carrots
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup sweetened, flaked coconut
  • 1/4 cup moist, plump raisins
  • 1 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 large eggs
For the frosting:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 pound or 3 and ¾ cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
I prepped the carrots the night before I started putting together the rest of the cake so I wouldn't be overwhelmed with so much to do in one night. Dorie said to grate the carrots and that she used her food processor with a shredding option to complete this task. I wasn't too keen on the idea of dragging out my mom's huge food processor nor on the idea of grating all of those carrots by hand, so I cheated. I used my parent's little Black & Decker food chopper, and it got the job done. I didn't have elegantly shredded or grated carrots, but I did have minced carrots pieces. Since the carrots were chopped into such small pieces, the 1 1/2 cups of the vegetable was pretty packed. This might have helped with the sinking problem that some other members reported, and it allowed the carrot to have a stronger presence, which I like.

Last night I actually made the cake, and it came together like clockwork. I whipped the sugar and oil together in a stand mixer until it was uniform and not at all smooth (did anyone else get this combo to a smooth consistency?). Then I added the eggs one at a time and mixed them until it was a smooth. Next came the dry ingredients, and I was careful to stop beating them in as soon as the last trace of flour was gone. Lastly, I stirred in the carrots, raisins, pecans, and coconut.

I scooped about 1/4 cup of the liquid batter into each cupcake tin lined with liner. Then I placed the 14 cupcakes into the oven. My mom was making meatloaf last night, so I had to share the oven with her and baked my cupcakes at 350 degrees F instead of the 325 degrees F as required by Dorie. My cupcakes were good to go after 20 minutes, but this time might have to be shortened for others following this recipe at 350 degrees F because the heat was flowing divvied between the meatloaf and the cupcakes.

I took them out of the oven and let the cupcakes cool in the pan for about 5 minutes. Then I plopped them out onto a rack to cool to room temperature.

While the cakes were cooling, I made the frosting. I wanted these cupcakes to be topped with mounds of frosting just like all the cupcakes I saw on Martha Stewart a couple of weeks ago for her Cupcake Week. Hence, I didn't halve the frosting recipe. I creamed together the butter and cream cheese before adding in the sugar and lemon. I was pretty stingy with the powdered sugar, so I only added enough to get the consistency that I wanted. I didn't come close to using a pound of powdered sugar, but you might have to if you want a stiffer frosting.

I had big plans of using a pastry bag and piping the frosting out onto the cupcakes. I was excited about finally using the mini cake decorating kit that I had purchased months ago. However, I was too lazy to wash out the pastry bag, so I improvised and used a Ziploc bag. I cut off one of the corners and inserted the pastry tip. I spooned the soft frosting into the bag and began to make all these funky designs on top of the cupcakes. When I said, "funky," I didn't mean it in a good way. This was the first time that I worked with a "pastry" bag, so I had no control over what was spilling on top of the cakes. Additionally, the Ziploc bag decided to give out towards to the end, and a ton of frosting just gushed all over the place. I resorted to using a trusty butter knife to smooth on the frosting after that point. At least I had way more than enough frosting to cover the cupcakes.

After I frosted the cupcakes, I placed them in the refrigerator overnight so that the frosting could set. I had a cupcake for breakfast this morning, and I thought it was pretty tasty. The pecans might have been too coarsely chopped for my liking, but that's just a minor critique. I liked this recipe, and I wouldn't be opposed to making it again.

25 comments:

  1. Megan said...

    Hey Cecilia - the cake looks fabulous!! Glad I could help!

    I also can't wait to try the Nutella Cupcakes!  

  2. Amy said...

    Mmmm!! That picture looks so yummy!  

  3. rebekka said...

    Great job, they look delicious!  

  4. Megan said...

    I just wanted you to know I have had my share of "exploding" ziploc bags - when the seam breaks and icing oozes all over your hands - tasty but counterproductive!!  

  5. Melissa said...

    Looks great. I'm impressed you even own pastry supplies...I don't!!! Maybe someday...  

  6. soulafa said...

    With this cloudy frosting, yamilicious!!  

  7. Carrie said...

    Your little cupcakes look just perfect!  

  8. CB said...

    What a great picture! Love seeing all the bits and pieces of the cupcake innards. Carrot-tastic job!
    Clara @ I♥food4thought  

  9. Hygeian Stew said...

    Cupcakes are a great idea, I'll have to try that next time. I've never had much luck with pretty frosting either, I guess it takes some practice.  

  10. Jayne said...

    I've had the bursting ziploc bag thing happen to me, too! So frustrating! Your cupcake looks great!  

  11. Sherry Trifle - Lovely Cats said...

    Looks great! Good idea not to use too much powdered sugar - mine was a bit over sweet with the full 16 ozs.  

  12. Gretchen Noelle said...

    Wonderful looking cupcake! Great job!  

  13. Rebecca said...

    Ooh, a cupcake for breakfast ... we must be related!  

  14. Emily said...

    The cupcakes look awesome!  

  15. Mevrouw Cupcake said...

    This recipe was really a snap in the end, eh? You did a great job, and your cupcakes looks very tasty!  

  16. Cecilia said...

    Thank you all for the kind, kind words. I hope you all are enjoying your own cakes as much I'm enjoying mine.

    Megan: You have given me hope that I will one day recover from the Ziploc fiasco and be able to pipe icing as prettily as you. If you do end up making the Nutella Cupcakes, let me know!

    Melissa: I thought the pastry supplies would a good investment because of all the pretty cupcakes that I saw on Martha...but it's going to take some practice for me.

    Hygeian Stew: I liked making cupcakes because they're more compact and easier to store. I think I'm going to have to find ways to frost everything from now on until I perfect it!

    Jayne: It is super frustrating, but I will someday conquer the pastry bag arts!

    Sherry Trifle: I could have done with stiffer frosting, but I had to stop as soon as the sweetness was to my liking. Oh, I was really torn about whether or not to add more powdered sugar when I putting together the frosting.

    Mari: Yep, the recipe was thankfully easy to put together! Whew!  

  17. Chez US said...

    GREAT photo, I love that you can see all the yummy ingredients in your cakes!!!  

  18. Jennifer said...

    These look great!  

  19. juliatylerfoodblog said...

    yum your thick layer of frosting looks delish! I made my mini cake using a Coringinware ramekin (the little white ones). I filled it about 2/3rds full. I sprayed the ramekin with non-stick spray and the cake came right out!  

  20. mimi said...

    aww, too bad about the ziploc mess, i'm sure you'll get the hang of it. right now, i just kind of go with it, and not worry about a little ooze here and there. messy or not, your cake still came out looking terrific!  

  21. LyB said...

    Oooh, cupcakes for breakfast, that sounds wonderful! Your cupcakes do look delicious! :)  

  22. Donna said...

    What a colorful cake! Bet it was delicious too!  

  23. Cecilia said...

    Lyb: Carrot cake cupcakes are GREAT for breakfast! I mean, they do have some vegetables in them...

    Julia: Thanks for sharing how you made the mini-cakes. I'll have to try this out the next time I have a dinner party.

    Thank you all for your nice comments!!!  

  24. Sharon said...

    ha, ha, yeah I hate washing out the pastry bags myself. I just buy the disposable ones so that I don't have to.  

  25. Natalie said...

    What a great cupcake! Good job :)