Sunday, March 10, 2013

Carrot Cake with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

We've had beautiful spring-like weather this weekend and my KitchenAide Mixer has been sitting dormant far too long. I had an itch to bake something, and no other baked goods says springtime like a carrot cake. For the cake recipe, I turned to my trusty Better Homes & Gardens cookbook (with a couple adjustments), and for the vanilla buttercream frosting, I found a great recipe via Pinterest.

Carrot Cake

What you need:

4 eggs, beaten
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 cup finely shredded carrot (lightly packed)
3/4 cup (or 1-6 oz container) vanilla flavored Greek yogurt*

What you do:

- Allow the eggs to warm to room temperature for 30 minutes. While the eggs were warming, I peeled and shredded carrots in my food processor. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

- In the bowl for my KitchenAid, I combined the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt and baking soda).

- In a separate bowl, I combine the shredded carrot, yogurt and eggs.

- Add the shredded carrot, yogurt and egg mixture to the dry ingredient mixture and stir together until thoroughly combined.

- Pour into two greased 9-1/2 inch round cake pans (I used an extra long loaf pan from Ikea that was the perfect size for the amount of batter this recipe produces).

- Bake for 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees. Check that the cake has baked through by inserting a toothpick into the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is done.

- When the cake is done, cool in the pan(s) on a rack for 10 minutes, then turn onto a cooling rack and cool thoroughly before frosting.

*Using yogurt will create a very dense cake. If you prefer a fluffier, lighter cake, use 3/4 cup oil instead of yogurt.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

What you need:

1/2 cup egg whites (I used the pre-separate whites from Egg Beaters)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 lb (8 oz.) unsalted butter (room temperature, but into slices)
1 tsp vanilla extract (or flavor of your choice)

(the original recipe is double these amounts but this amount was perfect for frosting and filling my cake)

What you do:

- Put a pot of water on the stove and let it simmer. Set your metal mixing bowl (I used the bowl from my KitchenAid) over the pot of water (see original post for photos of the process).

- In the mixing bowl, combine the egg whites and sugar. Whisk continually until the sugar dissolves and the mixture reaches a temperature of 140 degrees. As Gail says in her post, the mixture will be warm to the touch.

- With the whisk attachment of your mixture, begin beating the egg and sugar mixture. Increase the mixer speed as the mixture thickens.

- Once the mixture thickens, change to the paddle attachment and add the butter a couple of pieces at a time. If the buttercream is lumpy, increase the speed on your mixer until the buttercream smooths out.

- Add your flavoring extract and mix in thoroughly. Refrigerate the buttercream frosting until your cake is thoroughly cooled and ready to be frosted.

- Add a layer of frosting between the cake layers and then frost the top and sides. Mine doesn't look pretty, but it sure tastes good!