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SEPTEMBER 1999
RECIPES

Fudge Pudding Cake

Chocolate Applespice Cake

Chocolate Chip Coffeecake

Carrot Cake with White Chocolate-Cream Cheese Frosting

Wacky Cake



Sweet Spot

 


Carrot Cake with White Chocolate-Cream Cheese Frosting

Tips: Carrots for this moist, lightly spiced cake should be finely shredded; I use a grater with holes just over 1/8 inch in diameter. The cake layers may be frozen, but the frosting will not freeze. Note that you must use best-quality, real white chocolate for the frosting (check the ingredients--real white chocolate will have cocoa butter listed as one of the first two or three). The frosting must chill during preparation, and it never entirely sets up, as does a classic confectioners' sugar frosting. The finished cake must be kept in the fridge, but it will keep nicely for a few days if stored airtight. Most people find this homemade-looking cake very appealing.

Carrot Cake:

  • 1 can (8 ozs.) crushed pineapple in unsweetened pineapple juice
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, stirred with a fork before measuring
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1-1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, preferably freshly grated
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2-1/2 cups finely shreded carrots (5 to 7 carrots, washed, dried, and peeled)
  • 1-2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups corn oil
  • 4 eggs, graded "large"
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
White Chocolate-Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 6 ozs. best-quality real white chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 16 ozs. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
Garnish:
  • 1 generous cup medium-fine chopped walnuts (alternatively, use pecans or almonds)

For Cake: Adjust rack to center of oven. Grease two 9-inch round, heavy layer pans, at least 1-1/2 inches deep. Line the bottoms with rounds of wax paper cut to fit. Grease the paper then dust the inside of both pans lightly with flour, knocking out any excess. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Drain pineapple for at least 15 minutes in strainer set over bowl (bottom of strainer should hang above drained juice). Stir a few times to encourage draining. Cover lightly with plastic wrap to prevent drying out.

Into medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside. Combine shredded carrots with well-drained pineapple (discard juice), and stir to blend the two thoroughly. Set aside.

In large bowl, combine sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With hand-held electric mixer, beat 1-1/2 minutes at medium speed. Add sifted dry ingredients; beat in at low speed just until combined. By hand, gently stir in carrot-pineapple mixture until evenly blended.

Divide evenly between prepared pans. Spread level, then run batter slightly higher along edges of pan (it won't cooperate very well--just do the best you can). Place in preheated oven.

Bake 32 to 42 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center emerges with a few moist crumbs still clinging to it. Layers will dome in center somewhat and become quite brown on top. Switch oven position of pans and rotate pans back-to-front about halfway during baking. Do not overbake.

Remove to cooling racks. Allow to cool in pans 10 minutes (tops will flatten out during this time). Lossen layers from sides of pans; invert onto cooling racks and gently peel wax paper from bottoms. Re-invert and cool completely, right side up, before frosting.

For Frosting: Place chopped white chocolate in small heatproof bowl. In small saucepan over low heat, heat cream until very hot, stirring occasionally. Pour hot cream over white chocolate. Allow to stand for a minute or two, then stir or whisk gently until melted and smooth. (If necessary, place bowl over hot water on low heat (water should not touch bottom of bowl), and stir white chocolate mixture until smooth. Remove from heat and hot water.) Allow to cool to room temperature. Note: white chocolate is sometimes very stubborn about melting; if you cannot get yours completely smooth and melted, you may have to process it briefly in a food processor fitted with a steel blade, just until it is smooth.

This frosting may be made with a stand mixer (preferably fitted with a whisk beater) or a powerful, hand-held electric mixer. Make sure the cream cheese and butter are very soft but not melted, then beat together at medium speed in a large bowl (or the small bowl of a stand mixer) until perfectly smooth and very well blended. Scrape bowl and beater(s) with rubber spatula often throughout mixing process, to ensure thorough blending of ingredients. At a low speed, beat in the cooled white chocolate mixture, again beating until smooth. Gradually incorporate confectioners' sugar at a low speed, then beat frosting at high speed just until fluffy; it will be rather thin at this stage.

Chill frosting and beater(s). You'll need to beat up the frosting occasionally; make sure you scrape the bowl and beater(s) with a rubber spatula before and after doing so, and beat the frosting each time at high speed just until fluffy. Chill and beat frosting until it is of good spreading consistency (that's usually about 1-1/2 hours for me).

While Frosting chills, prepare Garnish. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a shallow pan with aluminum foil; the pan should be large enough to hold the chopped nuts in a single layer. Place nuts in lined pan. Toast in preheated oven for 8 to 11 minutes, or just until very fragrant and lightly golden. Stir occasionally and watch carefully; nuts can burn quickly. Cool completely before using.

Check cooled cake layers; if tops are not perfectly flat, gently even with large, sharp, serrated knife. When frosting is of a good spreading consistency, place one cooled cake layer upside down on serving plate, anchoring it with a dab of frosting in the middle. Frost what is now the top of this layer generously. Place second layer on top, right side up. Frost sides of cake, then top (this is a generous amount of frosting).

To garnish, place cake on a decorating turntable if you have one. Take up a small handful of the chopped, toasted, cooled walnuts; hold your hand out and spread the nuts up along your fingers. Press nuts gently into side of frosted cake. Some will fall off--OK, as you can always put them back on. Repeat process to cover sides of cake. Chill until frosting has hardened somewhat (at least a couple of hours), then cover airtight. Store in refrigerator.

8 to 10 servings

 


© Stephanie Zonis provides the above information to anyone, but retains copyright on all text. This means that you may not: distribute the text to others without the express written permission of Stephanie Zonis; "mirror" or include this information on your own server or documents without my permission; modify or re-use the text on this system. You MAY: print copies of the information for your own personal use; store the files on your own computer for your personal use only; reference hypertext documents on this server from your own documents.

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