Friday, December 18, 2009

Back in awhile

I really, really wanted to do the chocolate pinecone...but with the holidays approaching and my cookie bakefest almost done (I'm doing about a dozen cookie gift boxes comprised of over a half dozen different items), plus the 3 pies I'm taking to Christmas, I don't think I will be posting for the next couple of weeks...I don't want to experiement with freezing the fondant cake and with other goodies around, I'm not sure the gingerbread cake will be a hot item.  So...I'm taking a break from the bakealong and will be back in the next decade.  Enjoy your holidays, fellow bakers!  Best wishes to you all.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Carrot Cake

I suppose I am putting the icing before the cake.  I've already baked the Carrot Cake from RHC, but it was for a dairy free cake, so I've never actually made the Dreamy Creamy White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting...hence the reason I've signed up to do my second version of the carrot cake.

As far as the frosting's simplicity in a nutshell.  Take the butter, cream cheese, and creme fraiche (I splurged) and process, then add the melted white chocolate (cooled).  Now simplicity is becoming a challenge for me these days.  Take for instance adding the white chocolate while no longer warm but fluid... it is very, very cold here...
Thermometer in Metric                    

Thermometer in Imperial

Note the interior temp is about 15C or about 58F (that's by the window, but it's not loads warmer in the kitchen).  By the time the chocolate would cool, the outside of the bowl was already getting hard, inspite of my stirring.  I opted to add it warm and perhaps paid the price.  I tried to process it and get the slightly curdled appearance to emulsify, but no luck.  Perhaps I needed to chill it. 

I added vanilla since there were no beans in my chocolate:

When I removed the frosting the next day, it was a hard lump, so it sat in the microwave with the OTR light on so it could be at a "warm" room temperature rather than wine cellar temperature.  I thought using the immersion blender would luck.  I even pulled out the gutless Toastmaster hand mixer, and even though the frosting was quite soft at this point, the piece of junk I was using was smoking and barely mixing faster than I could by hand (it was a wedding gift that I pulled out of the depths of the basement a few months ago).  I guess I'd have to resign myself to a less than dreamy creamy frosting until summer :(

Onto the cake.  Simple, really.  I wanted an extra 6" cake, so I scaled up the recipe accordingly.  My baking goes in waves sometimes I get on a roll, and other times I should stop and take a break.  Generally everything went well with the cake baking, although I think I should reduce the oven temperature by 25F as I find the Chicago Metallic Professional pans I use always seem to bake fast even though:  Rose says not to, my oven temp is good, and I use baking strips.  In this case the 9" cakes were done the same time as the 6" cake in the aluminum pan.  Mental note for the next cake. 

I didn't follow the recipe exactly, I omitted the raisins since the cake's for my hubby's family and they don't like raisins.  Also, I used Saigon cinnamon and didn't use the full amount since it's got a bit more kick than Korintje. 

Bye, bye Mr. Carrot.

You may recall, or not, that I have a livid fear of unmolding cakes.  I reinforced this fear by smushing the carrots out of one of the 9" cakes.  It was salvageable, but here's the damage:

The other, perhaps pan related issue, I'm having is some major sloping sides on my cakes.  The CM-Pans are straight, yet I end up with the tops sloped inward.  This is a major pain when it comes to frosting the cake -- and I suspect part of the reason why I barely had enough frosting even though I used 500g of cream cheese and scaled up the recipe accordingly.  I had wanted to do a basket weave design on the cake, but resorted to my usual, boring motif.  I may try not spraying the sides of the pan -- that could be a horrible disaster though...we'll see.

I will not be serving this cake until next Monday.  But... the carrot cake, from previous experience, is mildly spicy and dusky.  I like it!  From the licking of the bowl tests I did, the frosting is not very sweet and has a great tang ... but not from lemon as usually is the case.  I think the creme fraiche makes a difference in this regard.  I love the cocoa butter nuances, although some may scoff at the idea.  I did improve the texture of mine, but I suspect in warmer climes, it would be dreamy creamy.  I will have to try again! 

I did nuke some of the frosting remnants and it did improve the texture -- unfortunately this was after most of it ended up on the cake.  I will be making both the frosting and cake again.

For Heavenly Cakes Sake