April 12, 2015

Carrot Graham Layer Cake

Happy Monday!

I can't remember the last time that I made carrot cake, but making carrot cake instantly jumped higher on the "must bake list" when I saw Deb of Smitten Kitchen post a carrot graham layer cake.  I previously made Deb's s'more layer cake which had graham crackers in the cake, and it was one heckuva cake.  So, I obviously had great expectations for Deb's carrot graham layer cake.

This cake has a lot of carrots - 3 cups of peeled and shredded carrots.  When I first saw that, I read through the comments to make sure that wasn't a mistake.  Deb made a very good point: this cake has more carrots than a salad.  Therefore, one might take the position that this cake really counts as a vegetable serving. (Okay, that's my position.)

There isn't a lot of flour in the cake, but that's because of the contribution from the graham crackers.  This cake isn't overly "cake-y" or dense due to the lower content of flour.  The spices are classic carrot cake spices, which go well with the honey graham crackers.  After baking the cake, I froze the layers.  This makes frosting so much easier!  Freezing the cake layers actually helps retain the moisture in the cake, and you are less likely to break the cake (or make a "crummy mess") when frosting it if the cake is frozen.

The cake layers are very soft, so be extra delicate when you remove them from the pan.  Two of the layers came out in separate pieces, but the layers are so soft that I was able to push them back together.  This is another reason to freeze the layers: freezing will allow the broken layers to "stick together."

The next day, I made the cream cheese frosting and frosted the cake.  I liked Deb's idea of using a cookie cutter as a stencil to decorate.  I added some graham cracker crumbs into a butterfly cookie cutter that my mom got me.  Butterflies and carrots seemed to make a nice spring motif!

For all of those who do not like carrot cakes with raisins, this is your cake!

Carrot Graham Layer Cake
Yields 1 cake

For the cake:
1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (96 grams) finely crushed graham cracker crumbs, plus extra for any decoration
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 nutmeg, grated (or 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg)
3/4 tsp. ground ginger
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
3/4 cup (145 grams) dark brown sugar
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
3 large eggs
3 cups (360 grams) of peeled and shredded carrots

For the frosting:
2 8oz. package cream cheese
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 cups (240 grams) confectioner's sugar

Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Line three 8-inch or 9-inch cake pans with a circle of parchment paper and grease pans with butter or cooking spray.  If you don't have three cake pans, you can bake the third layer after you finish baking the first two layers. (Just unfold the first cake layer, wipe out the pan, put down a new parchment paper circle, and grease.)  Alternatively, you  can just bake two layers because the layers are very twin.

In a medium size bowl, add the flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and other spices.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment to blend the sugars and butter.  After blended, add eggs one at a time.  Then, add in the carrots.  Finally, add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until smooth.

Pour the batter between the pans and bake for about 18-20 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.  The cake will be very soft and will feel sticky.  Allow the cake to rest in the pans for 10 minutes, and then run a knife around the cake to ensure no parts are still sticking.  Flip the cake onto the cooling rack, and allow to cool.  Repeat with the other layers.  After the cake layers have cooled, wrap them in plastic wrap and place them in the freezer overnight.

When you are ready to make the frosting, add the cream cheese and butter to the bowl of your stand mixer, and beat, using the paddle attachment, until smooth.  Then, add the confectioner's sugar and vanilla extract.

When you are ready to frost the cake, place the first layer on a cake plate and spread with frosting.  Repeat with remaining layers.  You can sprinkle any extra graham cracker crumbs as desired on the cake.  Refrigerate the  cake before serving.

Source: Adapted with a few small modification from Smitten Kitchen

1 comment:

  1. What an interesting cake! I have some graham crackers in my pantry (shipped here) and I'm trying to decide how to use them. I think I found it!


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