Monday, November 15, 2010

Carrot Cake

Oil was often used to make the cake lighter in texture, though butter makes it more delicious. Brown sugar made it rough while the granulated sugar increased the sweetness. Molasses (also called sugar cane juice), salt and cinnamon add color and flavor while the eggs and flour hold the ingredients together. Baking powder expands the size while baking soda stabilizes it. For the frosting, cream cheese is often used, though mascarpone cheese, a soft cow’s milk cheese made near Milan, gives a better taste. The curd from the cream is whipped into a thick, velvety cheese that has a rich sweet flavor.

In baking, it is important that the oven is preheated for 15 minutes and the temperature is exact. Use an oven thermometer to get the exact reading. Measure all ingredients using cups, spoons, and for mass production, use a weighing scale. After baking, cool for at least 10 minutes before removing from pans. Hot cakes are hard to handle and will deform, so be patient. To decorate, place the first layer topside down on a plate. Place one third of the frosting and spread using a spatula. Add the second layer on top of the first layer. Place the remaining two-thirds mixture on top of cake and decorate top first then the sides. When decorating, place your third finger in the center of spatula for easier handling. Store in the refrigerator or freeze in a box to keep frosting from melting, serve cold.

1. Preheat oven at 350° F or 175° C. Line 2-9 inch round pans with bake paper or grease one 10-inch Bundt pan or one 9” x 13” x 2” aluminum foil pan.

2. Beat in a bowl at high speed until creamy with mixer; add 1 cup softened Magnolia gold butter salted, 1 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 tbsp. molasses, 1 tsp. each of baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt.

3. When creamy, add 4 whole eggs to total 1 cup eggs.

4. Turn mixer to low speed and add 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour until smooth.

5. Fold in 1/2 cup chopped pitted prunes previously soaked in 1/2 cup brandy or rum (at least 30 minutes), 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or cashew or peanuts, 3 cups grated carrots with skin on.

6. Fold in prepared pans and bake 25 to 30 minutes if using 2-9 inch round pans, 45 minutes if using 9” x 13” x 2” pans, 55 minutes for a 10-inch Bundt pan.

7. Serve or top with: Beat at high speed in a bowl: 225 grams cream cheese, 1/2 cup confectioners (powdered/icing) sugar; gradually add 1 cup very cold all-purpose cream, beating well after each addition.

8. Note: Mascarpone cheese may also be used in place of cream cheese. Peeled and grated young pumpkin (kalbasa) in place of carrots, which is now in vogue abroad.

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