Monday, October 17, 2011

32. Cake on a Smaller Scale (Carrot Cake)

There was a period of time when I was making birthday cakes for my office every few weeks. We have not had an office birthday in quite some time and the next Birthday is 2 months away. No birthdays means no cake.

But, you do not have to have a birthday to enjoy cake. I wanted to bring cake to the office just to celebrate Friday and making it through a particularly difficult week. I wanted to do cake on a smaller scale, understated. I did not want to go full on triple layer, round cake mode and I am not a fan of cupcakes. So, what to do?

Cake in a jar.  It is portable and contains nearly two full servings a jar; and hello, it is super cute!  So, cake in a jar it was.  I wanted to give my office mates two different options--chocolate and non-chocolate.  One jar contained chocolate cake with Nutella swiss meringue buttercream, garnished with chopped hazelnuts and chocolate chip.  The other jar contained carrot cake with swiss meringue buttercream, garnished with almond slices and crystallized ginger.

For the chocolate cake: I used my favorite chocolate cake recipe (from the neapolitan cake).  I also added nearly four ounces of room temperature nutella to a half batch of my 1:2:3 (5 oz egg whites) swiss meringue buttercream.

For the carrot cake: I used a new recipe, marking another challenge off my top 100 list.  I then took the other half of my 1:2:3 swiss meringue buttercream and added 8 oz of room temperature cream cheese and approximately a cup of powdered sugar.

My office mates loved both cakes, though personally, I believe the jury is still out on the carrot cake.  Overall it is generally a good recipe and is definitely not dry like a recipe I tried previously.  I would like darker and deeper flavors; so next time I am thinking of trying brown sugar or adding in molasses.

To make any cake into cake in a jar is super easy.  I use 8 oz jars and a circle cookie cutter that cuts out cake into circle pieces perfect size for the jar.  Push in one piece of cake into the jar, pipe in some frosting.  If adding garnish for texture between the layers place some in there now.  Then repeat the above.  Top with the mason jar lid and twist on rings.  Very easy to assemble, but BIG on presentation.

Carrots Cake Recipe
(named Best Carrot Cake of All Time, but I am not ready to give it that title)
Adapted from Tasty Kitchen

2 1/2 cup All-purpose Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1 heaping tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Allspice
1/8-1/4 tsp Nutmeg
3 large Eggs
2 cups Sugar
3/4 cup Butter, melted
3/4 cup Buttermilk
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
256g Carrots, finely grated
1 can (8 oz) crushed pineapple, drained

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare one 9x13 in pan with flour and butter spray.

2. Combine flour, baking soda & powder, salt, cinnamon, all spice, and nutmeg. Set aside.

3. Beat together melted butter and sugar, followed by eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla until smooth.

4. Beat in flour mixture until just combined.

5. Fold in carrots and pineapple.

6. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes. A toothpick inserted should come out clean or with a few moist crumbs.

7. Let the cake cool and then use to make cake in a jar as described above.

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