Carrot Cake with Icing

carrot cake

With spring comes … bunnies, and … carrots. With spring also comes carrot cake. And this carrot cake was such a delight to make because it turned out great the first time I adapted it. Even my chocoholic hubby came back for more. It’s light and fresh, just like spring, and its filled with good-for-you ingredients. If you don’t add the glaze it’s even refined-sugar free.

The first step in adapting this recipe for high altitude was to find a slightly smaller pan size to avoid a crater in the middle of my cake. The sparkling water was already in the ingredients as the egg substitute, and it helped keep the cake from crashing in the center. Next, I sifted the dry ingredients to incorporate more air and loft. Last, I reduced the baking soda. All of these actions made for a lighter than air cake which made me so happy as I had feared the carrots would weigh everything down.

So, without further ado, I give you:

Carrot Cake with Icing adapted from TheWholeServing.com
topping
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cups oats
cake
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup + 1.5 TBS all-purpose flour
scant tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
2 cups shredded carrots
1 tsp orange zest
1 cup almond milk
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup sparkling water
icing
1 cup powdered sugar
2 TBS almond milk
Preheat oven to 350 F and lightly grease a 10×10” pan. In a bowl combine brown sugar and oats for the topping. In a large bowl sift together flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Place carrots and orange zest on top of dry ingredients in bowl. In another bowl whisk together milk, maple syrup, vanilla and oil. Mix in sparkling water. Gently fold wet ingredients into dry and mix until well combined.
Transfer mixture to baking pan and spread evenly in pan. Sprinkle topping over surface of the batter. Bake for 26 to 28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. For the icing, mix together powdered sugar and milk until well combined. When cake has cooled, drizzle glaze over cake. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Until next time, happy baking!

Crumb Coat for Easy Cake Decorating

Crumb coat

Image courtesy of Cooking Cinderella at flickr.com

Many years ago, when I first ventured into “specialty” baking, I was given the gift of classes on cake decorating. At the time I was baking mostly cookies and brownies and wasn’t sure what I would do with the knowledge, but I knew I would have fun. I learned how to use frosting to make a basket-weave, flowers and leaves. It was pretty but didn’t seem very useful for a home baker. Until I learned some tricks.

I learned to stand a tipped decorating bag in a tall glass while you are filling it – it’s like an extra hand when yours are already busy. Another idea was to use icing as glue to cement the cake to a board so it won’t move in transport. I found out that a turning stand makes it easier to decorate a cake. A great tip was to flip the top layer of a layer cake over so you have a flat surface to frost. But my favorite trick was the crumb coat.

A crumb coat will make the surface of your meticulously decorated cake look beautiful. To crumb coat a cake you take some of your icing and thin it with water. It should be thinner than usual but not enough to tear the cake as you apply it. Spread this icing to make a thin layer on the entire exposed cake surface.

Don’t worry if there are crumbs in the icing, this is expected. The icing layer is so thin that you will see the cake and crumbs. Smooth the icing as best as you can and let it dry. The crumb coat needs to be dry to the touch before you put the final layer of icing on. Once the crumb coat is completely dry, you are ready to continue icing and decorating.”

The crumb coat creates a barrier to hold crumbs down so your final icing will be smooth and crumb-free. This is especially important if you are frosting a chocolate cake with white icing. Even with white icing on a white cake you don’t want to have cake bits floating around in your decorations. It may seem like it takes unnecessary extra time, but it is so worth it. It helps make any cake into the perfect cake.