My birthday was last Sunday, and my sister’s was on Friday, which means last weekend was a birthday extravaganza, filled with grilled steaks and twice-baked potatoes, brownie pie, baked brie, Belgian waffles, a picnic in the park, and a wedge of chocolate cake so uncompromising I know it’s still sitting, like the Lincoln Memorial, in one of my arteries.
Such gluttony, mere days after “The Biggest Loser” finale! Beatings, beatings, beatings.
This morning, I was back to the breakfast of the penitent: high-fiber cereal, 1% milk, and shame. But then I remembered this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie challenge, Bill’s Big Carrot Cake. And out came the butter, the sugar and the cream cheese.
Oh, well. Everything in moderation. That’s why I turned Bill’s Big Carrot Cake into cupcakes. Portion-control and DENIAL.
Bill’s Big Carrot Cake
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s “Baking: From My Home to Yours”
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 3 cups grated carrots
- 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
- 1 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
- ½ cup moist, plump raisins (dark or golden) or dried cranberries
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup canola oil
- 4 large eggs
- 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 stick ( 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 pound or 3 and ¾ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or ½ teaspoon pure lemon extract
- ½ cup shredded coconut (optional)
- Finely chopped toasted nuts and/or toasted shredded coconut (optional)
- Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds, and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter and flour three 9-x-2-inch round cake pans. Put two pans on one baking sheet and one on another.
- For the Cake: Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, stir together the carrots, chopped nuts, coconut, and raisins.
- Working with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the sugar and oil together on a medium speed until smooth. Add the eggs one by one. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture, mixing only until the dry ingredients disappear. Gently mix the chunky ingredients. Divide the batter among the baking pans.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes, rotating the pans at the midway point. The cakes will have just started to come away from the sides of the pans. Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes and unmold them. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up. (The cakes can be wrapped airtight and kept at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to 2 months.)
- For the Frosting: Working with a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until the frosting is velvety smooth. Beat in the lemon juice or extract.
- If you’d like coconut in the filling, scoop about half of the frosting into a bowl and stir in the coconut.
- To Assemble the Cake: Put one layer top side up on a cardboard cake round or a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper. If you added coconut to the frosting, use half to generously cover the first layer (or generously cover with plain frosting). Use an offset spatula or a spoon to smooth the frosting all the way to the edges of the layer. Top with the second layer, this time placing the cake top side down, and frost with the remainder of the coconut frosting or plain frosting. Top with the last layer, right side up, and frost the top–and the sides-of the cake. Finish the top with swirls of frosting. If you want to top the cake with toasted nuts or coconut, sprinkle them on now while the frosting is soft.