Well it’s been cake week here and a little out of the ordinary, I tried two new types of cakes I’ve never made before.
The first was a carrot cake; it has been on my “to do” list for a while now but made its way to the front of the list when it was requested for a special birthday. The one after 59. One of my biggest fears with this cake is I’d never even eaten carrot cake before so I had no idea what it should look or taste like. Being that it was for a more mature recipient we went searching for a more traditional recipe. We went to the cookbooks not the internet. Bet you didn’t think those things even existed anymore Right? The truth is, my cookbook is a folder full of plastic sleeves holding printouts from websites. I do have a few cookbooks but not many and generally not cake/dessert books. So we toddled off to see what we could find in my mother in laws shelves that fit the description. We managed to find a few similar but different ones. The one I decided on came out of a cookbook called centenary cookbook “100 recipes for 100 years” from the centenary celebrations of Balmain Hospital.
What’s up Doc?
The recipe used crushed pineapple and walnuts with the carrot. I went through and added all the ingredients as per the recipe and baked the cake. Well having never made one and not knowing what to expect I thought it was a total disaster! The cake barely rose; it uses oil instead of butter so I knew it would be a dense cake so was the self-raising flour too old? I didn’t know. Running out of time my beautiful wife took the reins and went to plan B, which was a sour cream carrot cake out of the women’s weekly cookbook. This too used oil and self-raising flour but with a much better result (in my eyes). So iced with cream cheese icing and a sprinkle of walnuts on top our carrot cake adventure had been a success with a little bit of teamwork. They loved it which was a great relief.
Now the original didn’t go to waste; once we decided we were going to try another recipe we cut it open to have a look and give it a try. To our surprise it wasn’t bad, the recipe uses white sugar instead of brown so it had a blonde look to it rather than the brown tinge you’d expect. The cake was dense but with a good crumb so maybe that is just how the cake is. Maybe I’ll try it again one day though I do have a browned butter version I want to try first.
The Next Adventure.
The cake was a Red Velvet. Again I’ve never cooked one before and I’ve been dying to try one. I got the recipe from Gretchen from Gretchen’s Bakery. Check out her site and youtube channel. I love them and I think her videos are what helped me find my passion again. She’s a professional pastry chef and goes through the recipes, breaks down the steps so it’s easy to follow as well as giving away professional tips and tricks along the way. Oh No! I just gave away my secret weapon.
On with the Show!
So this recipe makes the kitchen aid stand mixer a very expensive kitchen ornament but it’s an easy mix with great results without it.
So working to the recipe you need to put all the dry ingredient except the sugar into a bowl, I run a whisk through to combine the ingredients rather than sift it through a sieve but it’s up to you.
In another bowl mix all the wet ingredients plus the sugar including the red food colouring to bring out the red in the cake. Apparently the reaction between the coco powder and the vinegar is what originally gave the cake its colour and therefore its name. I’m keen to try using other colours to see the colour results.
Add the wet with the dry and mix it until just combined. It doesn’t take much and looks amazing and RED.
Next divide into 2 cake tins and wack ‘em into the oven.
Different cake tins do different things.
Being a home baker my range of cake tins is an accumulation of here and there purchases over the years. This recipe is based on two 8” tins which I don’t have but I do have two 7” tins. This is no problem it means the cakes are a little thicker and cooking might be a little longer. The issue that I never really considered till now is the quality of the tin. One tins is made with strong robust thick steel the other is thin and flimsy. Would you believe there is 15 min difference in cook time? Both cakes went into the oven together on the same shelf the good sturdy cake took about 35mins and the flimsy tin took 50mins. So the thing I learnt is that if I’m buying new cake tins buy in pairs.
Onward and Upward
Now that the cakes are cooked and cooled it’s time to bring it all together. Traditionally red velvet is served with cream cheese icing so that’s what I did. I got the recipe from Gretchen’s bakery again and it’s yummo! I sneaked a little taste; Oh who am I kidding I always taste the icing! and the bowl and the beaters
First thing I did was put them in the freezer to firm up then I levelled the bottom cake. Next I piped the cream cheese icing on top all the way to the sides this time! (I’m learning – if this makes no sense check out “My Death by Chocolate Disaster”). I didn’t level the top cake as it had a really nice dome. I iced the top and sides and to finish it off I took the piece I cut from the bottom cake and rubbed my fingers over it to make crumbs then sprinkled it over the top.
I’ve gotta say I’m pretty proud of the way this cake looks and by all accounts it tasted good too! One comment being that it was my best so far!
and on that note.
Thanks for Readin’