So here's how it works: Every week(-ish, or may be every two weeks) one of us is going to bake a cake. We get to choose our own recipe, -- either taking the opportunity to share a favorite or experiment with a new one -- take pictures of the baking adventure, post the recipe on this blog, and then bring in the cake to share.

As the five of us would like to avoid gaining a gazillion pounds during the process, we are inviting you, our fellow CCE'ers to come wallow in frosting along side us. In order to partake in all the cakey goodness, we'd like to request that your bring own fork and plate, and that you provide us with your comments and feedback here on our blog.

And, with that being said, LET THEM EAT CAKE!!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patty's Day Irish Cream Cake

For Saint Patrick's Day I decided to make an Irish Cream cake. I love Bailey's, so that combined with cake sounded like a win win to me! I found a recipe that had great reviews so I decided to be ambitious and try it, even though it is much more complicated than anything I've tried before. There are a lot of steps, so I broke up the process into two days.

First I made the cakes:

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
2 cups white sugar
5 large eggs, separated
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350°. Beat butter and shortening at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy; gradually add granulated sugar, beating well. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Add vanilla extract, beating until blended.
Combine flour and soda; add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition.
Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; fold into batter. Pour batter into 3 greased and floured 9-inch round cakepans.
Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks. (I cooled them overnight).

Then I made the butterscotch filling:

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup milk, divided
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Stir together brown sugar and butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until sugar melts and mixture is blended. Stir in 1/2 cup milk until blended.
Whisk together remaining milk, flour, and salt; stir into brown sugar mixture, and cook, whisking constantly, over medium heat 5 minutes or until thickened. Gradually add eggs, and cook, whisking constantly, 2 minutes. Remove from heat, and let cool. Stir in pecans and vanilla.

Then I made the cream cheese frosting:

1 (8-ounce) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 (16-ounce) package powdered sugar, unsifted

Beat first 3 ingredients with an electric mixer until creamy. Add confectioners sugar, beating at low speed until blended. Beat at high speed until smooth.

Then I assembled the cake:

1/2 cup Irish cream liqueur
3 cakes
2 cups butterscotch filling
3 cups cream cheese frosting

3/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
14 pecan halves, toasted (I didn't use these)

Brush cake layers evenly with liqueur. Spread half of Butterscotch Filling between each cake layer; spread Cream Cheese Frosting on top and sides of cake. Gently press chopped pecans onto sides of cake; arrange pecan halves on top (I made a shamrock out of green colored frosting instead of using these pecan halves).

...and it's a hit!!

We cut the cake and it is de-lic-ious! It is moist, and has the perfect amount of Irish Cream and sugary sweetness. The cake cut well and presented nicely. I definitely recommend making this cake. Even though it was a lot of work it was totally worth it!!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Carrot Cake Contest Winner

The winner of our Carrot Cake Contest is...

LISA VOGE with Cake #4

Sample of Tasters Comments

Cake #1 – Spiced Chocolate Carrot Cake – Emelina Logan


Very yummy

Taste like fruit cake

Frosting is tasty. Cake is a little dry

Lots of spice

Good frosting, love the spices, don’t like the raisins

Cake #2 – Simple Vegan Carrot Cake – Jennifer Trotter

Favorite Frosting

Not fond of

Thought it would be horrible but it was good!

I dig the vegan style! But a tad dry. Dig the frosting

Very good! Liked vegan option

Cake #3 –Carrot Cupcakes – Margaret Hwang (***RUNNER UP***)

Nutty, but delicious

Liked the consistency. Enjoyed the pecans

Nutty Carrot Flavor

Sweet, Moist, Complex

A little dry in cupcake form

Very cute! Good amount of nuttiness. Very moist – Yum!

Cake #4 – Terry’s Carrot Cake – Lisa Voge (**WINNER**)

Country Kitchen

Like cake, frosting ok

Tastes like it has coconut, Yummy!

Pretty! Nice fruit flavors in background. Can almost taste leavening.

Light, moist, perfectly sweet frosting

Super good frosting!! Moist, good nuttiness.

Cake #5 – Michelle’s Carrot Cake – Michelle Cavanna

Unique Frosting

Frosting was too sweet

Best frosting

Very moist but crumbly. Good flavor. Frosting overload.

Coconut made it a little too spongy for me

I like the thicker frosting, interesting spice flavor to it.

Pictures from the event...

Winner to be announced soon!

Carrot Cake Bake Off

Today was the First (fill in indeterminate, random frequency) CCE Cake Bake Off. We started off with a Carrot Cake Bake Off - we don't have immediate plans for another one but response was pretty good and we've had fun so . . . expect similar events in the future!

Anyway, we solicited our co-workers for entries and 7 people signed up. With last minute changes we ended up with 5 cakes, which was a manageable group for our first event. The cakes all look great and everyone provided a recipe (check them out below). Voting is still ongoing - We will post the Winner and a selection of comments after 2pm.

Thank you to our bakers, tasters, and voters!

Happy Baking!

Carrot Cake Bake Off Recipes

Entered by Lisa Voge
Terry’s Carrot Cake
(adapted from Cooking Light)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1/3 cup chopped pecans
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 large eggs
2 cups grated carrot
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 cup grated apple

2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 (8-oz) block 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract

Shredded carrots and pecans for decoration. Preheat oven to 350F.

To prepare cake, lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, sugar, coconut, pecans, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl; stir well with a whisk. combine oil and eggs; stir well. Stir egg mixture, grated carrot, pineapple, and apple into flour mixture. Spoon batter into a 13 x 9-inch baking pan (or 12-in round pan) coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 for 35 mins or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.

To prepare frosting, combine butter and cream cheese in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Beat in powdered sugar and vanilla just until smooth. Spread frosting over the top of cake. Garnish with shredded carrot and pecans if desired.

Entered by Emelina Logan
Spiced Chocolate Carrot Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
3 tablespoons finely grated orange peel
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/2 cup orange juice
3 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1 1/2 cups shredded carrot, about 2 medium carrots
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts

Heat oven to 350°. Butter and flour a 10-cup Bundt pan. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, 1 tablespoon of grated orange peel, baking soda, allspice, nutmeg, vegetable oil, eggs, orange juice, and chocolate. With mixer at low speed, beat just until blended. Increase speed to medium and beat 2 minutes longer. Stir in grated carrots, raisins, and walnuts. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes, or until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely on rack. Dust with powdered sugar or drizzle with Cream Cheese Glaze, below.

Cream Cheese Glaze:
(Use this glaze for carrot cake, pound cake, or similar desserts.)
1 package (3 ounces)
3 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Stir until smooth, adding a little more milk or powdered sugar, if necessary.

Entered by Michelle Cavanna
Last year for Christmas, I received this really great Baker’s Assortment Box from Penzeys Spices. Included in the box are a couple of whole nutmeg and cinnamon sticks, a bottle of Double Strength Madagascar Pure Vanilla Extract, and jars of Sweet China Cassia Cinnamon, Natural High Fat Cocoa Powder, and a unique Baking spice blend of Cinnamon, Mace, Sweet Anise, and Cardamom. While this might sound like an ad for Penzeys Spices – the box is available here:, by the way -- I use them in almost all of my baking now and this recipe is the perfect showcase!

Michelle’s Carrot Cake
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon (I prefer to use 2 tsp. Penzeys Spices Baking Spice + ½ tsp Penzey’s Sweet China Cassia Cinnamon)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
9 oz. crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup chopped walnuts
3 eggs
3/4 cup oil
3 1/2 oz. coconut (I used about 6oz.)
2 cups grated carrots

Beat together sugar and eggs in large bowl. Combine dry ingredients. Combine buttermilk and oil. Add flour mixture and buttermilk mixture to eggs alternately (begin and end with dry). Beat until well combined. Stir in carrots, pineapple, nuts, and coconut.
Bake 350 degrees in 9 X 12 greased and floured pan for 40-45 minutes

Cream Cheese Icing:
8 oz. cream cheese
½ cup (1 stick) margarine
1 lb. powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Beat all ingredients together until smooth.

Entered by Margaret Hwang
Carrot Cupcakes
(by Judy Laumets with adaptations by Margaret Travis and Margaret Hwang)
2 cups sifted all-purpose unbleached flour
2 cups extra fine bakers' sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1½ cups Wesson Oil
4 beaten extra large organic eggs
3 cups grated organic carrots

Mix dry ingredients together. Add oil and beaten eggs. Fold in the grated carrots. Divide batter into 24 individually lined muffin tins. Bake at 325° for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Filling and Frosting
½ cup softened butter
8 ounce package softened cream cheese
1 cup chopped pecans (toasted first to bring out flavor)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 vanilla bean (scrape out seeds from bean)
3/4 box of powdered sugar, sifted (to taste)

Beat butter and cream cheese together. Add other ingredients and mix. If too thick, soften with a little half and half or milk so the frosting does not tear the cupcakes. Make sure the cupcakes are completely cooled otherwise you will have a cream cheese milkshake on your hands!

Entered by Jennifer Trotter
This carrot cake is vegan and contains no commercial egg replacer. I’ve refrained from adding nuts or dried fruits but a half cup each of walnuts and raisins, or coconut flake and macadamia, or pecans and dried cranberries would be interesting additions. This is my first foray into vegan baking and overall I’m pleased with how it turned out – even more so because it didn’t require egg replacer. I was not as pleased with the frosting – not sure how to improve the texture, it might require some research and test batches, um. . . yeah, testing –THAT’s why there are 14 batches of frosting in the kitchen.

Simple (Vegan) Carrot Cake
2 cups finely shredded carrot
1 ¾ turbinado sugar
1 cup crushed pineapple drained
½ cup canola oil
¼ cup molasses
2 teaspoons each cinnamon and nutmeg
½ teaspoon cardamom
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ½ cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 13x9 baking pan.
Combine carrot, sugar, pineapple, oil, molasses, spices, and vanilla. Beat until well combined.
In a separate bowl stir together flours, baking soda and baking powder. Add flour mixture to carrot mixture and beat until well combined. Batter should be thick but pourable. Add extra pineapple juice if to dry.
Pour into prepared baking pan and bake at 350F for 45 minutes. Cool completely and ice with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
½ cup Earth Balance margarine
6 oz Tofutti Cream Cheese
3 cups powdered sugar (recommend
1-2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoon vinegar

Beat together all ingredients. Adjust for desired consistency – more sugar to thicken, non-dairy milk to thin.