Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Birthday carrot cake

For J's birthday on Saturday, I baked a carrot cake with lemon curd filling and whipped cream frosting.  For the cake I used David Lebovitz's recipe, with 7/8 cup vegetable oil instead of 1 cup of oil/butter, ~1.3 cups of sugar instead of 2 cups, and 0.5 tsp salt instead of 1 tsp.

Grated carrots, eggs, and dry ingredients

It turns out that producing four cups of grated carrots using a microplane results in a slightly sore arm, but I really can't argue with a) the satisfaction of seeing that mounded bowl of bright orange, and b) the resulting cake's moistness.  I baked two 9-in layers and sandwiched Trader Joe's lemon curd in between.

For the frosting, I made whipped cream, adding sugar, cinnamon and ginger powder for flavor, and also adding some dissolved gelatin as a stabilizer (a tip I learned from smittenkitchen).  I piped the little stars around the edge and base and then used blue decorating gel for the lettering.

I had originally baked and decorated this cake with a different inscription on Friday night, finishing about 21 hrs before it was going to be eaten, but noticed when I got up on Saturday morning that the decorating gel had started to bleed into the frosting.  The bleeding wasn't severe, and my friends might not have even noticed, but I wanted the lettering as clean as possible.  Plus, a morning conversation with E sparked the new/improved inscription, inspired by one of our favorite Cakewrecks.

So in the afternoon before the birthday celebration, I excised the old lettering, resurfaced and redecorated the top with a new batch of whipped cream, and then re-lettered.  Lesson learned: if using colored decorating gel on whipped cream frosting (and maybe on other frostings, too?), apply it at late as possible.  Anyway, the cake ended up looking and tasting exactly as I had wanted it to, and the birthday boy and company enjoyed it.  Mission accomplished!