Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Perfect Food

Today is my father's 80th birthday. I asked him what he wanted, and he told me pot roast. So I prepared a delicious pot roast, Alton Brown's green bean casserole. and potatoes au gratin. And I made his favorite cake.

I made a Triple Layer Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.

First, is there anything that isn't improved by the addition of cream cheese frosting? Second, carrot cake is a perfect food. It's got fruit (raisins), protein (eggs and nuts), vegetables (carrots), and dairy (cream cheese). It has it all! Unfortunately, it is labor intensive. And messy. I will spare you the details of the many places in which I have found carrots.

It made my dad happy.

Triple-layer carrot cake with cream cheese frosting
Bon App├ętit | October 1994

Serves 10.

Cake
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
4 large eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 cups finely grated peeled carrots (about 1 pound)
1/2 cup chopped pecans (about 1/2 ounce)
1/2 cup raisins

Frosting
4 cups powdered sugar
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
preparation
For cake:
Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly grease three 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Line bottom of pans with waxed paper. Lightly grease waxed paper. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and vegetable oil in bowl until combined. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg into sugar and oil mixture. Stir in carrots, chopped pecans and raisins.

Pour batter into prepared pans, dividing equally.
Bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean and cakes begin to pull away from sides of pans, about 45 minutes. Cool in pans on racks 15 minutes.
Turn out cakes onto racks and cool completely. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap tightly in plastic and store at room temperature.)

For frosting:
Using electric mixer, beat all ingredients in medium bowl until smooth and creamy.

Place 1 cake layer on platter.
Spread with 3/4 cup frosting. Top with another cake layer. Spread with 3/4 cup frosting. Top with remaining cake layer. Using icing spatula, spread remaining frosting in decorative swirls over sides and top of cake. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cover with cake dome and refrigerate.) Serve cake cold or at room temperature.

Turn out cakes onto racks and cool completely. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap tightly in plastic and store at room temperature.)

For frosting:
Using electric mixer, beat all ingredients in medium bowl until smooth and creamy.

Place 1 cake layer on platter.
Spread with 3/4 cup frosting. Top with another cake layer. Spread with 3/4 cup frosting. Top with remaining cake layer. Using icing spatula, spread remaining frosting in decorative swirls over sides and top of cake. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cover with cake dome and refrigerate.) Serve cake cold or at room temperature.

Sorry about the photo quality. It was cut and about half was gone before I was able to take the pic.

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It is the perfect food.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Cinnamon Roll Cake

It's a sad story. It really is. I started to make this last week. I prepped the pan and was assembling the ingredients while the oven was preheating, and heard a hissing, popping, sizzling sound. I turned to see flames dancing in the oven. The bottom element was on fire. No cake that day.

But the oven is now repaired and I finally got to try this recipe. I found it on one of my favorite blogs, Chef In Training.

INGREDIENTS
3 cups flour
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1½ cups milk
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
½ cup butter, melted
TOPPING
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
GLAZE
2 cups powdered sugar
5 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13 glass baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
In an electric or stand mixer add the flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, milk, eggs, and vanilla. Once combined well , slowly stir in the melted butter. Pour into the prepared 9×13 baking pan.
For topping
In a large bowl, cream butter, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon together until well combined and creamy. Drop evenly over the batter by the tablespoonfuls and use a knife to marble/swirl through the cake.

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Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or when a toothpick inserted near the center comes out nearly clean.
FOR GLAZE
In a medium bowl, mix the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla together with a whisk. Drizzle evenly over the warm cake. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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The thing is, it really tastes like a cinnamon roll.

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