Monday, June 22, 2009

A slew of updates and a cake too

The Gazette has a kids' Christmas party every year, and this year Christine got a kit to make fairy sugar cookies. It's June, and we finally got around to making them. There were tulip and fairy cookie cutters, although unless you knew it was a fairy, it just looked like a deformed butterfly. The kids had fun with it though. There was frosting, and edible paints, and fairy dust (think glitter).

Here are the girls with the cookies that they decorated. There was a lot of abstract art at our house that night.

These are the faces of two cookie loving girls. Christine always loves to show how dirty her hands and face get, even though they aren't that dirty.

We got hail on Saturday night, and Michael took this picture with a quarter to compare. The funny thing was that the hail was mostly confined to our neighborhood.

Christine started her swimming lessons today. She is very excited, although I'm still not sure she likes being in the pool by herself. Her favorite part today was the chug a choo-choo they made with the noodles, and she got to be the caboose (she told her dad this morning that it was bobbing).

Last but not least, Michael and Wynn wanted carrot cake for Father's day. Carrot cake is one of my least favorite desserts, but when I saw this recipe, I knew it was what I wanted. Unlike other carrot cakes, the frosting on this is not rot your teeth sweet and the nuts aren't overwhelming. I got this recipe from Relish Magazine.

Carrot Cake

4 eggs
1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
2 1/4 cups sugar
2 1/4 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
20 oz carrots, shredded (about 3 1/4 cups)
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1 cup crushed pineapple, well-drained

White Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing
1 1/2 lbs cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups white chocolate chips, melted
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tsp lemon zest
chopped peacans, toasted

Preheat oven to 350. Spray bottom of three 8-inch round cake pans with nonstick spray and then line with parchment paper, spraying bottom again.

Combine eggs and oil in a large mixing bowl. Beat 2 minutes with a mixer on medium speed. Add 1 cup sugar and continue mixing 2 minutes. Add remaining sugar and mix 4 minutes.

Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg; add to egg mixture, beating on low speed until blended (about 1 minute). Add carrots, nuts and pineapple; mix until well combined.

Divide batter evenly among pans.

Bake 60 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs.

Cool to room temperature on a wire rack. Run knife around edge of cakes and remove from pans. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

To prepare icing, place cream cheese in mixing bowl; beat with a mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add melted chocolate a little at a time, continuing to beat at medium speed. Add butter a little at a time. Scrape down sides of bowl; add lemon zest and beat until combined.
Remove cakes from refrigerator. Ice the top of one layer. Place second layer on top; ice top. Place third layer on top; ice top and sides of cake. Press chopped nuts into sides of cake.
Serves 20

Notes - The recipe said you could use 2 9-inch pans instead of the 8-inchers, increasing the time to 75 minutes. I did this and found the baking time to be too long. I took the cakes out with 12 minutes remaining and they were done. Next time I'll stick with the 60 min and add if necessary. Since I did two cakes instead of three, I split the cakes in half to make four layers. The ratio of cake to icing would have been too much for me (I don't like thick icing - this way it was more spreadout). I also didn't press the nuts into the sides of the cake. I don't like a lot of nuts either. The original called for walnuts, but I swapped those for pecans. Toasting adds a lot of flavor, so don't skip this step (I just heat a skillet and toast them on the stove top). I've had two pieces of this cake now and I like it better after it's been in the refrigerator. The first time had soft icing, and the second time the chocolate and butter and gotten firm again. Enjoy!


Stacey said...

Thanks for the recipe!! Christine looks so old in the pict. with her hands up!! Cute girls, Michelle!

Sarah Robertson said...

I am not a fan of carrot cake either, but I am definitely going to have to try out that frosting! I am thinking on a pumpkin cake, perhaps. :)

Sarah said...

Your blog makes me SO hungry! I love it!