Sunday, December 10, 2006

Cyd's Big Day, or One Frosting, Two Cakes!

Last Friday evening, some friends gathered at a cozy local pub to celebrate a very auspicious occasion--the anniversary of the birth of my roommate, Cyd. Now I won't tell you how old she is now, as that would be indelicate. But I can tell you that the number ends in zero, and it was quite a traumatizing number for the poor thing. We antagonized her further by making her wear a silly birthday hat and a button with flashing lights that proclaimed her new age to all onlookers. That was great fun for us. But before you think us too unkind, she did get a very special birthday cake by request. She asked for a carrot cake, and if I do say so myself, I think I produced the best one that I've ever made! I started with what I believe it the best carrot cake recipe in the world, the Fourteen Karat Cake from The Junior League Centennial Cookbook. And then, in an absolutely inspired move I feel, I decided to frost it with my favorite frosting from my personal favorite cake, Chocolate Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese-Butter Pecan Frosting. As a sidebar, the Chocolate Velvet Cake requires an interesting technique whereby you pour hot water into the batter, which melts the butter, sugar, sour cream and chocolate into this gloriously smooth confection that yields a rich but feather-light chocolate cake. Top that with butter pecan cream cheese frosting (that's real buttered pecans, mind you!), and you've got a slice of heaven on your plate! And I am not even big on cake myself. But we're not talking about me--we're talking about Cyd! So back to her carrot cake. Well, the combination of the carrot cake with the butter pecan frosting was just divine! (Never too many nuts, that's my motto--second only to never too much garlic!) All of the celebrants Friday night seemed to feel that it was the best carrot cake that they'd ever had. I'll let you be the judge. But the butter pecan frosting is a winner, no matter what kind of cake you put it on!

Fourteen Karat Cake
(Source: The Junior League Centennial Cookbook)

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 cups grated carrots
1 (8 1/2 oz.) can crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I double this!)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 9-inch cake pans.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Beat the eggs in a large bowl with a wire whisk. Add the sugar and oil and beat until combined. Stir in the flour mixture, then fold in the carrots, pineapple, and nuts. Turn into prepared pans and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the cakes shrink slightly from the sides. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then turn out and cool completely on wire racks. Frost with cream cheese frosting, or better yet, with cream cheese-butter pecan frosting!

Cream Cheese-Butter Pecan Frosting
(Source: Southern Living Magazine)

2 cups chopped pecans
1/4 cup cup butter, melted

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 (16-ounce) packages powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Stir together chopped pecans and 1/4 cup melted butter. Spread in an even layer in a 13- x 9-inch baking pan. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until pecans are toasted. Remove from oven, and let cool. Beat cream cheese and 1/2 cup butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Stir in pecans and vanilla.

Chocolate Velvet Cake
(Source: Southern Living Magazine)

1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate morsels
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 (16-ounce) package light brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (8-ounce) container sour cream
1 cup hot water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Melt semisweet chocolate morsels in a microwave-safe bowl at high for 30-second intervals until melted (about 1 1/2 minutes total time). Stir until smooth.

Beat butter and brown sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer, beating about 5 minutes or until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Add melted chocolate, beating just until blended.

Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add to chocolate mixture alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Gradually add 1 cup hot water in a slow, steady stream, beating at low speed just until blended. Stir in vanilla. Spoon cake batter evenly into 3 greased and floured 8-inch round cake pans. Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool in pans on a wire rack 10 minutes; remove from pans, and let cool completely on wire rack. Spread Cream Cheese-Butter Pecan Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake. Garnish, if desired.

Yield: Makes 12 servings


Anonymous said...

some people happen to know how old YOU will be next year....
what type of cake have you selected for yourself?

Anonymous said...

Happy Bday Cyd. My 40th was on Saturday. Mine was very traumatic too, check out my blog for the reason.

Joy Bugaloo said...

Drats! This is the danger of knowing someone for can't lie about your age. Well, the point is, I still have a year to go before my big, scary number, and YOU, dear Adie, will have to embrace that number, too..a mere three days after I do! ;-)

For my cake, I would choose the Chocolate Velvet Cake with this Cream Cheese Butter Pecan Frosting. It might kill you, but it also might be worth dying for! After all, if I make it to 40, I might as well live it up. Death will be just around the corner. ;-)


P.S. Happy (belated) birthday, Randi! Your coconut cake looked GORGEOUS (but your travel itinerary...not so much)!