Thursday, December 29, 2005

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
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
1 cup (3 ounces) pecan halves
1 pound large carrots, peeled
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup nonfat buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

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.

Using the smallest holes (less than 1/4 inch in diameter) of a box grater, grate carrots, yielding 2 1/2 cups. Place carrots, eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, sugar, vegetable oil, and ginger in a large bowl; whisk until well combined.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Using a rubber spatula, fold the flour mixture into the carrot mixture until combined. Fold in the toasted pecans.

Divide batter between the two cake pans, and bake until a cake tester inserted into the middles comes out clean, about 1 hour. Remove pans from oven, and transfer to a wire rack to cool, 15 minutes. Turn cakes out onto rack; let stand until completely cool.

Using a serrated knife, trim tops of the cakes so surfaces are level. Slice each layer in half horizontally. Place a layer on a cake stand or cardboard round, and spread 3/4 cup frosting over top. Place a second cake layer on top, and spread with another 3/4 cup frosting. Repeat with third layer and another 3/4 cup frosting. Place last cake layer on top, and spread the remaining frosting over the top and the sides of the assembled cake. Transfer to refrigerator, and chill 3 to 4 hours.

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 eight-ounce bars cream cheese, room temperature
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
Pinch of salt

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

Comments on ""


Blogger Alicat said ... (December 29, 2005 9:45 PM) : 

how adorable! :)


Anonymous Corianne said ... (December 30, 2005 1:38 AM) : 

Oh WOW This looks soo professional!!! Congrats on this one! I would buy it in a store if it looked like this!


Blogger Nupur said ... (December 30, 2005 4:34 AM) : 

That looks too cute! You totally fooled me with the carrots :)
Thanks for sharing the recipe!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (December 30, 2005 11:37 AM) : 

That is one of the coolest cakes I've ever seen! Nice job!


Blogger Culinarily Obsessed said ... (December 30, 2005 4:30 PM) : 

aww how cute!! The carrots look great =)


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (December 31, 2005 7:08 PM) : 

I think that this cake beats the birthday cake! It was beautiful! You could have fooled me, I thought the carrots were real too! I'll have to try this recipe ~ I'm a die hard carrot cake fan!
Have a Happy New Year!


Blogger Stepped in Cupcake Batter said ... (January 01, 2006 10:42 AM) : 

The carrots are so believable.....I've got to try this one


Anonymous Molli said ... (January 01, 2006 11:57 AM) : 

What is the address for Good Things?


Blogger Alicat said ... (January 01, 2006 12:13 PM) : 

here is the address! :o)


Blogger Cate said ... (January 01, 2006 8:14 PM) : 

The cake looks amazing!


Blogger JADED said ... (January 02, 2006 10:06 PM) : 

Love the carrots, i thought they were real...

I dropped by hope you don't mind. Ü


Blogger michelle said ... (January 03, 2006 3:26 PM) : 

Chandra - it's amazing! Don't be down on yourself if things haven't been working out, look at the beautiful things you HAVE created! I love this one - it really does look like you just pulled the carrots out of the ground! You're such an inspiration! I got a cake decorating kit and classes from my boyfriend for Christmas, so I'm going to be a regular visitor to see all your wonderful progress! Happy 2006 to you!


Anonymous S said ... (January 03, 2006 7:33 PM) : 

Hi! Wow, those marzipan carrots truly look like they'd just been pulled out of the ground. I'm so glad to hear that the recipe has worked out well for you. I was really enthusiastic about MS's new Baking Handbook (we posted about our attempt at the same recipe, except that we made cupcakes. I loved the flavor of both the cake and frosting), but in response, we got quite a few negative comments about MS's recipes in general. I guess quite a few people had nasty experiences with her recent special holiday cookies magazine. Anyway, I'm really looking forward to reading about your progress through the book!


Blogger DSPerey said ... (January 04, 2006 12:55 AM) : 

I love watching the food network shows and this blog is a treat.

Good job! Look forward to other posts...


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (January 05, 2006 5:29 AM) : 

Got a link to you're site from a friend, although now I can't remember who :P The cake looks great and I too had to look a few times and wonder at the carrots.; Having seen your farmer cake I thought that's what it might be ;)

Oh, and I think Ginger CAN be freezed, mine is and it does get sorta mushy but serves it's purpose. Of course, I don't give it time to thaw, I grate it right from the freezer. Just wanted to share.


Anonymous lisaSD said ... (January 05, 2006 1:45 PM) : 

That looks like a lot of work--wow!

I have been eyeing that book at calls my name!


Blogger MM said ... (January 22, 2006 4:28 PM) : 

That's a fabulous looking cake. I love the carrots!


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