Thursday, 17 March 2011

Birthday yumminess

I have a lovely buddy at work who I can always ask for help, and she checks that I'm getting on okay. It was her birthday yesterday so I decided it was only right to make sure that she got a celebratory cake. I asked her beforehand what kind of cake she wanted so that I got it right (after all, there's no point having chocolate cake if you really would have preferred lemon drizzle) and she asked for a carrot cake. She was very specific though and asked for one with raisins but no walnuts.

I found a great recipe but it had walnuts and no raisins. However, after comparing several recipes this still seemed like it would give the best result. Some of the other recipes looked like they would produce delicious cake but they formed loaves and since this was to be a birthday cake, I wanted something that looked more birthday-like. I decided to use the great recipe but to substitute raisins for walnuts and hope it still turned out well!

Tuesday evening after work I got straight down to the cake baking. Baking the carrot cake itself was actually very simple. Aside from the tedious task of grating the carrot, it was quite a quick process as well. Whilst the cake was in the oven I made the cream cheese icing and stuck it in the fridge to keep it chilled until I was ready to ice.

Once the cake was cool I started to ice it, but found that the icing was far too runny (although I had followed a recipe). There was no way it was going to stay put on the cake! I added quite a bit of icing sugar to thicken it and this worked a treat. Once it was the right consistency I started to spread it on top of the cake, but the next problem was that it was lumpy. This wasn't due to the extra icing sugar I had just added, it was the butter. Despite the fact that the butter was soft when it was added to the cream cheese, and despite the fact that I had spent a long time beating it with an electric mixer, the butter had not become smooth. Next time I will simply use margarine. Generally margarine is very good in baking and I am going to go back to my gut instincts and use it! Anyway, to get around the issue of the lumpy icing I sieved it onto the cake. As you can probably imagine, I ended up making quite a mess. Still, I did have nice smooth icing in the end!

Once I had spread the icing over the top and sides and made it smooth, I used a squeezy caramel icing - which you can get from supermarkets - to write a happy birthday message. I then used caramel curls to make a border around the cake, and for a sparkly finish added some of the edible silver stars I mentioned in my last post.

Yesterday there was quite a lot of cake in the office. I love carrot cake and I was worried that this one wouldn't be up to scratch. However, when we finally cut into it - we were trying to stagger them a little so they weren't all eaten at once - it was better than I had hoped. The cake was moist and light but still had that extra density that carrot cake needs. The icing finished it off perfectly (though I was very glad that I hadn't used it in its original runny state) and it disappeared pretty quickly. As a carrot cake fan, even I was impressed! Best of all, my buddy deemed it delicious, and she had a lovely birthday.

Carrot cake with cream cheese icing

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