My project lately was to find a good carrot cake recipe for my cousin’s girlfriend’s birthday cake. At that point, I wasn’t familiar with the taste of carrot cake, mostly because the taste of cinnamon was not that appealing to me until recently, where I’ve been craving for cinnamon rolls. Thus I got on this mission to try out carrot cakes from different restaurants but unfortunately I only got to try out 2 due to budget constraints. It’s alright, because I guess Cedele has the best carrot cake sold in Singapore, judging from the reviews of Singaporeans and my own taste buds. It was fluffy, moist, not too crumbly, and the amount of cinnamon was just right. The other carrot cake I tried was from NYDC, which was only mediocre. The taste of pineapples had overpowered the traditional taste of a carrot cake.
So why were carrots put into a cake batter since it does not enhance flavour and texture? Since Middle Ages, sweeteners were either scarce or expensive. Thus people used carrots in their cake batters in replacement of sweeteners. Other than carrots, beets also contain the most sugar compared to any other vegetables. For cream cheese frosting and cinnamon flavour, I guess it is one of the creations of people with good taste buds.
The birthday cake was a huge success I would say, other than the lat minute addition of gum paste butterflies which almost ruined everything. Let me explain.
On the day of my deadline, I had this sudden inspiration to add in small gum paste butterflies to the cake. Problem was, my nearest baking supply store did not have any SMALL butterfly plungers or cutters, only a big butterfly cookie cutter. I bought it though, hoping that it will still work out. Next, the store ran out of ready-to-use gum paste, but i was determined to make the butterflies, and I bought the gum paste mix instead (powdered form). I went home, got all excited, made the butterflies, and let it dry at room temperature. In the packaging of the gum paste mix, it was said that the gum paste will dry in an hour or two. However, it did not occur to me that I am living in Singapore, a country with high humidity. So there it is, I screwed up. The butterflies did not dry completely but I was running out of time, so I’ve got no choice but to just place it onto the cake. Here is the second problem. Because the butterflies were big, the cream cheese frosting (acting as glue), was not strong enough to hold them if I let the cake out of the fridge for long. AND the third problem. I did not know gum paste is not supposed to be placed in the fridge, especially when the the surroundings out of the fridge is so humid. So there I was, panicking because the butterflies were becoming soggy and siding off my cream cheese frosting.
Solution? It definitely helped a little. I placed a bowl of corn starch just beside the cake box, inside the fridge. I also placed a small cup of corn starch in the cake box. What exactly does cornstarch do? It absorbs moisture, thus reducing humidity.
This project was completed just in time, together with a cheesecake for my colleague. Hectic week ):
I found the recipe below on AllRecipes website and altered some amounts of ingredients to my own liking.
Carrot Cake Recipe
1/4 cups vegetable oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon (powder)
3/4 cups grated carrots
1/4 cup raisins*
1/4 cup chopped almonds*
- Preheat oven to 350F/175C, and line parchment paper to a 6 inch round pan.
- In a large bowl, sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon, and whisk until well combined. Set aside.
- In another large bowl, combine eggs, brown and white sugar, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract. Mix until well combined.
- Sift for the second time your dry mixture, into the bowl of wet mixture.
- Using a spatula, fold the batter until you see no flour. Add in your carrots, raisins and almonds and mix well.
- Bake in oven for about 30 minutes.
*You can replace raisins with pineapple chunks or shredded coconuts. You can also replace almonds with any other nuts you like.
*I baked my cake for 30 mins exactly but timing may differ depending on the size of your cake pan, or the colour.
Cream Cheese Frosting
I got this recipe from woodlandbakeryblog.com and it is by far the best cream cheese frosting ever.
339g cream cheese
2 cups icing sugar(sifted)
- In a large bowl, cream your butter until soft and fluffy.
- Add in cream cheese, and mix until well combined and the cream cheese is soft.
- Add in the icing sugar, 1/4 cup at a time.
*For step 2 and 3, be sure not to over mix or else you will end up with a runny frosting.