Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Carrot Layer Cake from America's Test Kitchen

Carrot Layer Cake
Serves 10-12

Shred the carrots on the large holes of a box grater or in a food processor fitted with the shredding disk. Do not substitute liquid buttermilk for the buttermilk powder. To ensure the proper spreading consistency for the frosting, use cold cream cheese. If your baked cake is of an uneven thickness, adjust the orientation of the layers as they are stacked to produce a level cake. Assembling this cake on a cardboard cake round trimmed to a 6 by 8-inch rectangle makes it easy to press the pecans onto the sides of the frosted cake.
Ingredients
Cake
  • 1 3/4cups (8 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 2teaspoons baking powder
  • 1teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2teaspoon salt
  • 1/4teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 1/4cups (8 3/4 ounces) light brown sugar
  • 3/4cup vegetable oil
  • 3large eggs
  • 1teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 2/3cups shredded carrots (4 carrots)
  • 2/3cups dried currants
Frosting
  • 16tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 3cups (12 ounces) confectioners' sugar
  • 1/3cup buttermilk powder
  • 2teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4teaspoon salt
  • 12ounces cream cheese, chilled and cut into 12 equal pieces
  • 2cups (8 ounces) pecans, toasted and chopped coarse
Instructions
  • 1. FOR THE CAKE: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 18 by 13-inch rimmed baking sheet, line with parchment paper, and grease parchment. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and cloves together in large bowl.
  • 2. Whisk sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla together until mixture is smooth. Stir in carrots and currants. Add flour mixture and fold with rubber spatula until mixture is just combined.
  • 3. Transfer batter to prepared baking sheet and smooth surface with offset spatula. Bake until center of cake is firm to touch, 15 to 18 minutes. Cool in pan on wire rack for 5 minutes. Invert cake onto wire rack (do not remove parchment) and then reinvert onto second wire rack. Cool cake completely, about 30 minutes.
  • 4. FOR THE FROSTING: Using stand mixer fitted with paddle, beat butter, sugar, buttermilk powder, vanilla, and salt on low speed until smooth, about 2 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed. Increase speed to medium-low; add cream cheese, 1 piece at a time; and mix until smooth, about 2 minutes.
  • 5. Transfer cooled cake to cutting board, parchment side down. Using sharp chef’s knife, cut cake and parchment in half crosswise and then lengthwise to make 4 equal rectangles, about 6 by 8 inches each.
  • 6. Place 6 by 8-inch cardboard rectangle on cake turntable or plate. Place 1 cake rectangle, parchment side up, on cardboard and carefully remove parchment. Using offset spatula, spread 2/3 cup frosting evenly over cake layer. Repeat with two more layers of cake, frosting each layer with 2/3 cup frosting and pressing gently on each layer to level. Place last rectangle of cake on top and frost top of cake with 1 cup frosting. Use remaining frosting to coat sides of cake. (It’s fine if some crumbs show through frosting on sides, but if you go back to smooth top of cake, be sure that spatula is free of crumbs.)
  • 7. Hold cake with 1 hand and gently press chopped pecans onto sides with other hand. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving.
  • To Make Ahead: The cake may be refrigerated for up to 24 hours before serving.

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