This year has seen some of my greatest bakes and makes... but it has also had it's fair share of frustration, late nights and mistakes too! All in all, I am SUPER happy with how everything has gone, that I'm here still writing every week about something I have made or crafted, I'm learning to take better photos, I'm trying to always think of something I can make better, improve on next time or do a different way. I love love LOVE to try new recipes, and love a challenge.
This past year, actually the past few months I have had some amazing opportunities to bake for other people. Being a music teacher, I love the term 'commission'... I know usually it isn't a term used in baking, more so for art or musical compositions but I'm a muso so I'm thinking "Commission me a Cake"!? What do you think? A new line for Sew Lah Tea Dough?!
So this past week I was commissioned to make a cake and cupcakes for a 60th birthday party.. (you'll see that soon I promise!)... but then I got a message asking me if I could whip up a Carrot Cake for an office birthday celebration. Was I just starting my new job?! Was I working 13 hour days?! Was I busy enough!? Well.... yes... But am I crazy?! YES! Of course I said yes! I had a few hours spare, and what better way to spend them than baking. So, birthday carrot cake baking here I came!
I used a Martha Stewart recipe for my inspiration with this, and also went with a traditional cream cheese frosting. I'm personally not a huge fan of cream cheese frosting, but I was surprised with how delicious this recipe was! I'd definitely use it again.
My favourite part of the cake was definitely the marzipan carrots! I love marzipan, and had a lot of fun creating these little guys! I left them overnight to dry but then, before frosting the cake (just before delivery!) I also painted them with food colouring. A mix of food colouring and a splash of vodka (which does evaporate when it dries!) and a paintbrush and there I had orange carrots with green leaves.
Another recipe for the box, I loved the taste of the carrot cake - using pecans instead of walnuts, and also not too spicy. It made a perfect amount for a 9-inch sandwich cake, just what I needed for this. I also got a couple of cupcakes out of it as well - good to be able to taste-test when you can't actually cut a slice of the actual cake!
Ingredients (for the cake):
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon salt
12oz unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup water
1 pound carrots, peeled and grated (about 2 3/4 cups of the grated carrots)
1 cup finely chopped pecans.
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease two 9-inch round sandwich cake pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper, and grease the parchment again.
2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg.
4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
5. Add the vanilla, water and carrots, and beat well until combined.
6. Reduce the speed of the mixer to low, and add flour mixture, then finely chopped pecans.
16oz cream cheese, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup unsalted butter
32oz icing sugar
1. Beat together cream cheese, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy.
2. Gradually add butter, beating well.
3. With the mixer speed on low, gradually add the icing sugar, beating well until incorporated.
Like I mentioned, I left the cream cheese in the fridge overnight. So when I got home from work the next evening, I took the frosting out of the fridge right away... it was still a little cold, but after some beating with a wooden spoon it softened up and was able to be spread - filling the cake first!
... and then covering the top and sides with more frosting!