Ian and I got to spend much of the weekend with our friends Kevin and Allie (aka McJudd), and since we are both preparing for parenthood, we enjoyed going into a baby clothes and toy store in Portland after eating a fantastic breakfast at La Provence, and also looking at baby books at Powell’s together. It was a great day I will tell you. We are all so excited to be parents! Ian and I bought Elseth Jr. his very first toy: a dump truck. For a little further down the road but just as exciting nonetheless.
Isn’t it the perfect little dump truck? This is the first thing we have bought for Elseth Jr. I have a feeling the next thing will be something more substantial like a crib or a stroller, but it was so fun buying a toy. 😀
Now on to cake: A couple weeks ago my mother asked if I would be able to make some carrot cakes for a party at the elementary school where she works. I hesitated initially because I’ve never made carrot cake before so I didn’t want to commit if I couldn’t find a good recipe in time. Thankfully the party isn’t until May, so I have a bit of breathing room to test out some recipes.
On Saturday my poor husband had to go into the office and he ended up working a full 10-hour day. Saturdays as work days are so unpredictable. I realized that I had all the ingredients I needed to make a carrot cake so I decided to get busy in the kitchen. I did dishes, made carrot cake, went to the store, did more dishes, made two different frostings, frosted two carrot cakes, did more dishes, prepped dinner, set the table, made scones, and did more dishes. I enjoyed every minute of it. Baking is one of my favorite things to do, and I definitely prefer it over cooking. Probably because I have such a sweet tooth. 🙂
I found the carrot cake recipe at allrecipes.com so I will be sharing that with you with the small modifications in the directions that I made. I tested the frosting that came with this recipe along with a mascarpone cream cheese recipe, and everyone at my mom’s school preferred the mascarpone.
From bowl to pan. Notice that I forgot to dust the pans with flour! I can’t believe I forgot that step, though it all turned out ok. I at least greased the pans. I also don’t think the batter looked so gross in person haha.
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 cups grated carrots
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two 8-inch cake pans (or one 9×13 pan): grease, line with parchment rounds, then grease parchment and dust with flour, tapping out the excess.
In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, white sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla.
In a medium-sized bowl combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Whisk the ingredients together so that they are well-combined. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, scraping down the sides of the bowl when necessary, making sure all the ingredients are fully incorporated.
Stir in carrots. Fold in pecans. Pour into prepared pan(s).
Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes (for round cakes check at 35 minutes), or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Run a knife around the edge of the cakes immediately after taking them out of the oven to ensure they don’t stick to the edge of the pan. Let cool in pan for at least 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
To Make Frosting: In a medium bowl, combine butter and cream cheese. Add confectioners’ sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy (it might look very powdery at first, just keep mixing). Stir in the chopped pecans if using. Frost the cooled cake.
Notes: I highly recommend sifting the powdered sugar. I did not sift it and my frosting came out a little chunky. I would sift and then measure out 4 cups and see if the consistency and taste is to your liking once blended into the frosting. If not sweet enough, add more sugar until it is to your liking in taste and consistency for spreading.
I also recommend doing a crumb coat on this cake with this frosting. A crumb coat is a very thin layer of frosting (thin enough to still see the cake through) over the entire cake after it has been filled. You then refrigerate the cake for at least 20 minutes before continuing to frost the rest of the cake.
Mascarpone Cream Cheese Frosting
1 – 8 ounce cream cheese, room temperature
1 – 8 ounce tub of Mascarpone cheese, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1 1/2 cups cold heavy whipping cream
In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese and mascarpone cheese until smooth. Add the vanilla and confectioners sugar and beat until smooth. Using the whisk attachment, gradually add theheavy cream and whip until the frosting is thick enough to spread. Add more sugar or cream as needed to get the right consistency.