Thursday, August 20, 2009

Colorado Carrot Cake

Because I had several factors working against me, I, too, deviated from the recommended Have the Cake recipe this month. First, my daughter is just 7 weeks old, which means I was baking in the very short window between feedings and changings. I had about an hour to prep the cake so I could put it in to bake just before her next feeding. Second, while I hope to be able to play around with future recipes and adapt them for my altitude (about 9000 ft. above sea level), I knew I'd only have time this month to make this cake once, and I wanted it to be edible. So, instead of the recipe Rena posted about, I chose a carrot cake recipe from Susan Purdy's Pie in the Sky, a cookbook specifically for bakers living at high altitudes. The book is actually really cool - it includes measurements for sea level, 3000 ft., 5000 ft., 7000 ft., and 10,000 ft. I usually have the best luck using the 7000 ft. measurements and adding a bit more time on the recommended baking time.

Baby fed, changed, and strapped into her infant seat and placed on the counter so she could watch me bake (not recommended safe baby practice, but I swear I was never more than 5 inches from her the entire time and she's not very mobile yet), we got started.

I am notoriously bad at preparing to bake, and since we don't have a grocery store within half an hour, I sometimes have to adjust recipes just because I haven't picked up the proper ingredients during the weekly shopping trip. For some reason, I thought I only needed three carrots, but the recipe actually called for between 8-10. Whoops! I had to supplement with the completely hairy carrots Nate had in the bottom drawer of the fridge leftover from the pregnancy juice making extravaganza.

Piper and the hairy carrot

I fished the food processor out of the pantry. I can't believe I've never used the food processor to grate anything before. So fast! So easy! Of course, after grating the recommended 8 carrots, I had way more carrots than I needed. I also got to use the nut chopper my mother bought me off an infomercial 10 years ago. This thing never gets to see much action, except at Christmas. So many gadgets - I love this cake!

I'm a terribly messy baker, so by the time I was done mixing the batter (eggs, olive oil, carrots, walnuts, sugar, wheat germ, flour, baking soda, sald, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and vanilla), the kitchen was wrecked. But, because of the aforementioned gadgets, I actually had time to clean the kitchen before the baby started squalling!

Messy kitchen

I'd never seen a carrot cake made in a bundt pan, so I was a little nervous about that part. I've had bad luck getting cakes out of this type of pan intact, and there were some very weird directions about lining the bottom of the pan with parchment paper or tinfoil, which I experimented with and then discarded, choosing instead to coat the sucker with half a bottle of PAM. I stuck the cake in the oven for 45 minutes, came back after Piper was done eating, and voila! Perfect cake. I let it cool, then completely ruined the healthiness of the recipe by coating it with frosting consisting of nothing but cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar (to be honest, this frosting is really the only part of carrot cake I like). I tested it out on Nate and Kari, who both approved, and I've been able to serve it to a variety of guests who've come up to meet Piper this week. Delicious!


rena said...

First, I'm so impressed you managed to bake this at all! Clearly you will brake for cake :) Second, I love the shape! I think it works well.

Go you for baking with a 7 week old baby. The picture of Piper is priceless! She looks mighty frightened of the hairy carrot.

Jen said...

I love the Bundt cake idea, and how sweet you had a helper in the kitchen with you! :)

Tori said...

I love the wary look Piper is giving that hairy carrot! Hilarious.

Tina said...

That carrot would scare me! Go Piper! :)