Monday, April 21, 2008

Butterscotch Carrot Cake

Adapted from Bill's Big Carrot Cake in Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

Yields 10 servings

For the cake:
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon salt
3 cups peeled baby carrots, shredded
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted
1/2 cup shredded coconut
½ cup butterscotch chips
1-1/2 cups Splenda Blend Sugar
1 cup apple sauce
3/4 cup All Whites (recipe calls for 4 eggs)

For the frosting:
8 ounces 1/3 less fat cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick ( 8 tablespoons) butter, at room temperature
4 cups confectioners' sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
toasted shredded coconut (optional)

Getting ready:
Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 325. Spray 3 cake pans with cooking spray.

To make the cake:
Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

In another bowl, stir together the carrots, chopped nuts, coconut, and butterscotch chips.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the Splenda and apple sauce together on a medium speed until smooth. Add the eggs slowly and continue to beat until the batter is smooth. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture, mixing only until the dry ingredients disappear. Gently fold in the carrot mixture.
Divide the batter among the baking pans.

Bake for 40-50 minutes, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point, until a thin knife inserted into the centers comes out clean. The cakes will have just started to come away from the sides of the pans.

Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes and unmold them. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.The cakes can be wrapped airtight and kept at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to 2 months.

To make the frosting:
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until the frosting is velvety smooth. Beat in the vanilla.

To assemble the cake:
Put one layer top side up on a cardboard cake round or a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper, and put 1/3 of the frosting on top. Use an offset spatula or a spoon to smooth the frosting all the way to the edges of the layer. Top with the second layer, this time placing the cake stop side down, and frost with 1/2 the remaining frosting. Top with the last layer, right side up, and frost the top- and the sides- of the cake. Finish the top with swirls of frosting. Top the cake with toasted coconut, sprinkle them on now while the frosting is soft.Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes, just to set the frosting before serving.

This cake can be served as soon as the frosting is set. It can also wait, at room temperature and covered with a cake keeper overnight. The cake is best served in thick slices at room temperature and while it's good plain, it's even better with vanilla ice cream or some lemon curd.

The cake will keep at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. It can also be frozen. Freeze it uncovered, then when it's firm, wrap airtight and freeze for up to 2 months. Defrost, still wrapped, overnight in the refrigerator.