|As you may have read in a previous post, I have acquired the Martha Stewart Baking Handbook and plan to work my way through it Julie/Julia style....I have made several things from the book, but am saving them to post on a new site I am a co-author on called Good Things. Ali over at Something So Clever is the master planner on Good Things and she ask me to be a part of it.....I was thrilled and decided that my contribution would be to bake EVERYTHING in the MS Baking Handbook. Gulp. Easier said than done ....and once I sat down and really started taking in all that was ahead of me... I developed an ulcer. Good Lord. I have to make a 3 tiered wedding cake, roulade, angel food cake, goat cheese frosting, homemade puff pastry, eclaires, a dizzying array of breads and cookies and a nectarine tart that literally scares the hell out of me. It says in the description that this nectarine tart is easy to make but I beg to differ when looking at the picture. But I promised my Alicat that I would do this and damnit I am going to do it...... If it takes me 5 years... I am going to make EVERYTHING in this book. Every single little frosting, simple syrup and lemon curd that MS thinks is EASY..... even if it kills me. And you get to be there...... laughing the whole way.|
Sooooo.... like I said earlier I have made several things from the MSBH and honestly they have all turned out like.... crap. I started to think that maybe this book wasn't all that .... then I looked back on all the desserts that I have made these past 5 months and realized... ummmm.... no, it's me. I'm just not too good at the dessert thing. But I am learning and have made things I would have NEVER thought I would have made.... Case in point: The Carrot Ginger Cake. This weeks dessert experiment... Martha style.
This is not just any old carrot cake.... oh no. This is Carrot Ginger cake with toasted pecans and an orange laced cream cheese frosting topped off with tiny marzipan replicas of carrots pulled fresh from the garden.....I followed this recipe word for word. I got a new Salter scale for Christmas and used it to weigh out my carrots to the exact weight the recipe called for. Okay, well I say I followed it word for word... but I did have to sub powdered ginger for fresh ginger only because I had already been to the grocery store and thought I was cool with the ginger I had stored away in the freezer. I thought you could save ginger in the freezer.... but when it came time to grate it, it was literally mush. Gross mush. So I had no choice but to use powdered ginger...... but other than that I went word by word. The cake part went well and it came out of the oven golden brown at exactley the time Martha said it would. The orange cream cheese frosting whipped up beautifully and tasted amazing. And lastly the marzipan was a blast. Oh I tell ya... I am really becoming addicted to this cake decorating, molding stuff out of sugar thing....I had a good time making those little carrots. The were so very easy and I was suprised out how realistic they looked.... especially once they were dusted with the chocolate cookie "dirt". I made it for my mother in law's birthday and it really was a hit... The cake tasted great (finally) and the little carrots were a huge hit... especially with the kids. Martha has once again inched her way into my little heart and I guess I will keep her around....for a while.
Carrot Ginger Cake
Unsalted butter, for pans
Heat oven to 375°. Butter two 8-by-2-inch round cake pans. Dust pans with flour, and tap out any excess. Set pans aside. Spread pecans in a single layer on an ungreased baking pan, and toast in the oven until lightly golden, about 7 minutes. Remove pan from oven, and let stand until completely cool. Reduce temperature to 300°. Finely chop pecans, and set aside.
Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
Place butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add cream cheese, and beat until well combined and fluffy, about 2 minutes more. Add the remaining ingredients, and beat 5 minutes more. Use immediately, or store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to two days