Cake with White Chocolate-Cream Cheese Frosting
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.
White Chocolate-Cream Cheese
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 2 cups sifted confectioners'
- 1 generous cup medium-fine
chopped walnuts (alternatively, use pecans or almonds)
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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).
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
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