While this cake did not turn out anything like it was intended too, in this case its probably the best thing that could have happened. Susan, my darlin’s mother called it rustic. I think it fits. Fancy but not pretentious. A cake you can eat.
My darlin, Walker and I were charged with making a dessert for his co-workers wedding and it took us at least a week to decide what to make. A wedding is a special day and Walker was hesitant about trying out a new recipe. So we set out to make what we thought was a standby carrot cake. The recipe I used is supposed to make one 9 in. cake. But since this was for a wedding I wanted it to be a bit more elegant, and feed more folks. I figured I’d just double the recipe. Simple, right? Then I realized that our cake pans were only 8 1/2 inches. Well, we’ll just make three layers.
But, there was so much batter we had to make four!! Yes, a four layer carrot cake. When it came time to remove the cakes from the pans, even though I had buttered and floured the pans before hand the first batch did not want to come out. I think I was a bit eager and tried to get them out before they had cooled sufficiently. But we rescued them nonetheless (after some time in the fridge). Plus, its amazing what frosting can be used for – in this case, cake glue.
Despite the structural difficulties we had, this carrot cake is delicious. The moist and delicate cake is complemented nicely by the creamy just sweet enough maple cream cheese frosting. I have made this cake before in its original one layer form, and used a spring form pan which made removal much easier – no flipping and shaking needed.
Here’s my darlin’ and I all spiffied up for the wedding. The weather was perfect that day, although a bit breezy. A sunny day in the lower 70s.
The main attraction (well besides the cake and the happy couple) was this half a hog from Hickory Nut Gap farm. They called in a professional, Brian who works in the meat department at the local Earthfare to roast and prepare the barbecued pork. He made fast work of this pig.This was just the beginning. That half a hog fed 150 hungry wedding folks.
Instead of a traditional wedding cake the bride and groom requested cakes from friends and family that were elegantly placed in this cake tower of sorts. I think its an awesome idea! I never have been a fan of wedding cake. Although, I do always eat my piece. I’m hopeful that maybe this one will be different. Wedding cake tends to be dry and bland, plus the fondant frosting is no where as delicious as a maple cream cheese butter cream frosting. Plus they’re just so gosh-darn expensive. Not worth it.
The only problem with so many options for cake is that its easy to go overboard – like I did. I asked how many can we try, and the server replied “However many you like.” That did me in right there. Before I knew it I’d filled up my plate and Walker’s plate with cake and I couldn’t even finish half of mine. I mean I’d already eaten pork carnitas, local salad, and roasted vegetables (mostly fixed by the groom!) washed down by local beer. Not much room left in my belly at this point of the evening. When it comes to cake my eyes are way bigger than my tummy. I’m such a taster.
Alright, enough of my babbling I’m sure you’re ready for the recipe by now.
Four Layer Carrot Cake
If you want a simple one-layer cake you’ll find that recipe at The Kitchen Sink Recipes, or do the math and divide everything in half.
Go ahead and set out the butter and cream cheese for your frosting so it reaches room temperature by the time you need it.
1 cup toasted pecans (I omitted these, to avoid any allergies at the wedding, but will use any other time)
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1 lb. carrots coarsely shredded
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter and flour two 8 1/2 in cake pans.
2. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
3. In a large bowl beat the eggs and sugar with a mixer on high speed, until pale. Beat in the liquid ingredients. Beat in the dry ingredients just until moistened.
4. Stir in the carrots and pecans.
5. Divide half of the batter between two pans (remember you’re trying to make four more-or-less equal layers). Bake the two layers for about 50 minutes, until springy and golden. Let cool for at least 10 minutes then run a plastic knife (so you don’t scratch the pan) around the edges of the cake, then put the pans in the refrigerator to speed up the cooling process. After about 15 minutes remove pans and turn out the cake layers onto a cooling rake. Repeat with the second half of the cake batter.
Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese at room temperature
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
4 T pure maple syrup
1. Beat cream cheese and butter in a bowl with a mixer until light and fluffy.
2. Add powdered sugar and beat on low to combine. Beat in maple syrup.
3. If it seems a bit runny either add more powdered sugar or chill until its firm enough to spread
4. Place first layer of cake on cake plate. Pile a large dollop of icing on top and spread to the edges. repeat with the next three layers.