Tuesday, July 21, 2009

TWD: No Blanc-Manger but a BIG Birthday Carrot Cake

Today is the fourth day of my new (but temporary) eating plan. On the advice of my naturopath and in an attempt to make Oscar and I feel a bit better I am completely cutting out gluten and dairy products for 2 weeks. Considering my 2 favourite foods are bread and cheese that is a really big deal! I have tried to do this before but have always caved before long. This time, because I am doing it for Oscar's sake, it is a lot easier and I am seeing benefits already - no headaches, sleeping better and Oscar is throwing up less which is so fantastic I can't even tell you.

But what that means is no TWD for 2 weeks either. I didn't see the point in trying to make a gluten free, dairy free and most likely flavour free blanc-manger so I am bringing you one of my TWD rewinds.

Way back in March I offered to make a birthday cake for my mother in law. I handed her BFMHTY and told her to pick anything she liked. To my delight she picked Bill's Big Carrot Cake!

I made the cake exactly as per the recipe and ended up with 3 perfect looking 8" cakes. I wrapped them well and left them overnight. I was a little worried though as the tops were a little sticky the next day and they were very greasy to touch.

The taste test ...

This was one of those times where you know everyone loves it because there is total silence around the table! I love carrot cake anyway but this really was delicious - light, fragrant and packed with flavour. The cream cheese icing was the perfect complement but next time I would add more lemon juice. All in all, a winner!

Bill’s Big Carrot Cake
From Baking: from my home

For the cake:
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon salt
3 cups grated carrots (about 9 carrots, you can grate them in food processor fitted w/ a shredding a blade or use a box grater)
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

For the frosting:
250g cream cheese, room temperature
120g unsalted butter, at room temperature
450g confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½ cup shredded coconut (optional)
Finely chopped toasted nuts and/or toasted shredded coconut (optional)

Getting ready:
Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 140 degrees celsius fan forced. Butter three 9-x-2-inch round cake pans, flour the insides, and tap out the excess. Put the two pans on one baking sheet and one on another.

To make 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 beat the sugar and oil together on a medium speed until smooth. Add the eggs one by one and continue to beat until the batter is even smoother. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture, mixing until just combined. Gently mix in the remaining ingredients. Divide the batter evenly among the baking pans.

Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a thin knife inserted into the centers comes out clean and they are just starting to come away from the sides of the pans. Transfer the cakes to cooling racks for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes and turn them out. Cool to room temperature right side up.

To make the frosting:
Beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until the frosting is completely smooth. Beat in the lemon juice.

To assemble the cake:
Put one layer top side up on a cardboard cake round or a cake plate protected by strips of baking paper. 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 stop 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. Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes, just to set the frosting before serving.


  1. I need to try this rewind...yours looks fabulous....

  2. Hope your two weeks flies by and you can g back to eating your fave foods. What a gorgeous cake!


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