I absolutely love to bake, its my kind of chemistry. Once you learn the basics, the “rules” if you will, you can add your own personal touch to anything you bake. The possibilities become absolutely endless.
I didnt grow up baking, as my mom is a chef at heart, and doesnt enjoy baking because of all the things that can go wrong. When it comes to salads, pastas, and marinades it takes a few wrong turns in order to make something uneatable. Baking on the other hand is far more touchy. Something as small swapping baking soda for baking powder can render a cake worthless.
Long story short, I am a cautious baker. I dont go too crazy when it comes to modifying another person’s recipe because I am still learning the do’s and dont’s of the delicate baking system. A few days ago I was feeling adventurous though and decided to make a cake batter by scratch. I chose carrot cake because its one of my favorites. I love the idea of taking a veggie, and disguising it as a dessert. I also love the combination of the sweet, softness of raisins, and the unexpected crunch of a walnut nestled in the subtle spiciness of the cake. Then there’s the cream cheese frosting, and lets not lie, that might be the best part. But honestly, everything about a carrot cake just pleases my taste buds. So in order to not completely screw up my dream of a carrot cake, I read about 50 recipes, got a really good idea of the ratio of wet ingredients to dry ingredients, and settled on carrot cake cupcakes with some-sort-of-spice cream cheese frosting.
After mixing the batter with the ingredients I chose, it still looked a bit dry, and instead of adding more oil, I decided to throw in a little bit of orange juice. Which turned out to be a wonderful idea. The cake was fluffy, and flavorful yet it still had just the right amount of denseness. SUCCESS!!!! I cant even explain the accomplishment I felt as I was chewing that first bite because I was fully expecting my experiment to be a disaster. Then I realized that I had gotten so caught up in the excitement of a perfect cake, that I had forgotten the frosting.
Since I didnt use any cinnamon in the cake batter I made a cinnamon cream cheese frosting. Cream cheese frosting is incredibly basic, so the added spice made a wonderfully subtle difference and complimented the cake perfectly. Next time though, I am thinking I might try a cardamom frosting because my mom just sent me some beautiful cardamom pods and I have a feeling it might be an awesome combo.
OH! I almost forgot. I didnt put raisins in the cake. I used Craisins, and I will never use raisins again. The Craisins were amazing. They got all plump and the tartness in place of the sweetness of a raisin was perfect. I highly suggest you try it. I have a feeling you wont be disappointed.
Carrot Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. white sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 tea. baking soda
1 tea. baking powder
1 c. unsweetened applesauce
2 large eggs
1 c. canola oil
1/4 c. orange juice
1/2 tea. ground ginger
1 tea. nutmeg
1 tea. vanilla
pinch of salt
2 c. carrot, shredded
2/3 c. craisins
3/4 c. walnuts, chopped
8 oz pkg. cream cheese
1/4 c. unsalted butter
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 tea. cinnamon
– preheat oven to 350 degrees
– in a large mixing bowl, mix all dry ingredients together
– make a well in the middle of the flour mixture, and add all wet ingredients
– using a wooden spoon stir ingredients until everything is incorporated
– add carrots, Craisins, walnuts, and mix again until incorporated
– pour a little less than a 1/4 c. of batter into each cup
– transfer cupcake tin into the oven and bake for 15-20 min
– while the cupcakes are in the oven make the icing
– cream the butter, and cream cheese together until smooth
– about a 1/2 c. at a time add the powdered sugar, and then add the cinnamon
– take the cakes out of the oven and cool completely on a wire rack before you ice them