Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sweet Whimsy's Carrot Cake

(Curse ye', Kodak!)

Carrot cake has never been a favorite of mine. In fact, I won't eat it unless it's the only dessert item left at a potluck (my mom never makes it), and I most certainly won't eat if there is chocolate available.

But, of course, my mom saved me an article about a pastry chef in Illinois who has this kick-butt carrot cake that he sells in his bakery, called Sweet Whimsy.

Sweet Whimsy's Carrot Cake

1-1/2 cups vegetable oil (I used 1 cup)
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 cups grated carrots
1 can (13 oz) crushed pineapple with juice (we didn't have any pineapple, so I used a splash of orange juice and lemon juice for the acid and the citric flavor)
1-1/2 cups shredded coconut
1 cup chopped pecans
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 TB cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces cream cheese, softened (I used 6 oz)
8 TB unsalted butter (I used 4 TB)
1 tsp vanilla extract
4-1/2 powdered sugar (I used 3 cups)

Heat oven to 350*F.
Brush melted butter on the inside of an 11"x15" pan (I used cooking spray on a lasagna pan)

In a large bowl, beat the oil, eggs, and sugar until pale

In a separate bowl, mix the carrots, pineapple, coconut, pecans,
and vanilla.

Into a third bowl, sift the flour with the cinnamon, baking
soda, and salt.

Alternately add the carrot mix and the flour mix to the
eggs and sugar; stir/mix thoroughly.

Bake 50 minutes (around 40 in a
larger pan) or until knife inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

For the frosting: Cream the butter, cream cheese, and
vanilla. Add the powdered sugar a little at a time and mix until well blended.
Spread on a cooled cake. Serves 20.

I set the cake on a cooling rack, and put the frosting in a ZipLoc 1 gallon freezer bag. Once the cake had cooled, I cut it into approximately 24 pieces. I snipped the corner off the freezer bag (thus creating a make-shift pastry bag) and twisted a little puddle of frosting on 12 of the little cakes. I then put the 12 empty cakes on top of each of the frosted, and then swirled more frosting on the top (so it looked a little like a soft-serve ice cream cone) and sprinkled cinnamon on top.

I may never eat carrot cake from a buffet, potluck, or grocery store again, but this was the greatest, non-chocolate item I have ever sampled. (And resampled, and fed to my family)

(Credit: The local newspaper, from Chef Josh Baudin, Sweet Whimsy, Long Grove, IL)
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