April 26, 2009

Birthday Carrot Cake

I find myself looking forward to every special occasions when I can bake a cake for my love ones. From the stage of deciding what to bake, searching for recipes, mix and match recipes, buying ingredients to the actual day of baking, I truly enjoy every moment of it, especially when I see my friends and family enjoying the piece of cake, giving me truthful comments on how it could be better and also allowing me to take photos of it before they can eat it cos' they knew I want to take pictures for my blog! It is the support from them that makes my love for baking becomes much more meaningful. :)

As I flipped over my calendar, I find that out of the 12 calendar months in a year, I'd get to bake a cake almost every month if I can do it. Jan - Ling, Feb - Vday, my birthday (but I would usually preferred to be pampered with a cake :P ), Mar - Bro, Apr - BK, May - dd, Jun - only month I'm free, Jul - Xian, Aug - Dad & Mum, Sep - my nephew Heng, Bee, Oct - Ling (have not baked for her yet, Nov - 2nd Bro, Dec - nephew Xuan. Haha... that seems quite alot isn't it?? Back to the topic, this is a carrot cake that I baked for my best friend, Mingli (I like to call her Bingki). Both of us like the carrot cake from Cedele and since she love cheese, I decided on this carrot cake cos' I don't wanna bake her a cheesecake again.

This seemingly pretty easy cake turned out to be much more complicated than I had expected. I baked it in a 7-inch round pan, with some extra batter where I baked them in muffin tins. After only 15 minutes, the top part of the 7-inch cake was burnt badly. I had to salvage it by placing an aluminium foil on top. The muffins however, browned nicely and they were done in 25 minutes.

At the 40 minutes mark, I tested the 7-inch cake with a skewer and it was clean. I took it out to cool in the pan for a short while before removing out for it to be cooled completely. Guess what, the centre of the cake was still whobbly and wet and I had to bring back to the oven. I cooked for another 20 minutes or so and by then, the sides had already been baked till dry but the centre still looked kinda soft and kueh-like. I baked for a further few more minutes and still it turned out the same. I guessed they were already cooked but due to uneven cooking, it turned out that way. :(

So, did I have a change of plans? Nope I didn't. :) Not that I'm lazy, but if I had the chance, of course I would not want to start everything all over again. Besides, I did not expect this cake to fail, so there were no contingency plans unlike my past attempts.

So what I did was I use the nicely baked carrot muffins, and assembled to form a cake. As I did not yield ebough muffins to assemble into a whole cake, I had to do a small one. I used a teardrop-shaped cake tin, cut out the shape and stacked into 3 layers with a layer of cream cheese in between. It wasn't as easy as I had expected either, as I realised frosting with cream cheese (which is of a thicker consistency) is much more difficult than frosting with whipped cream. The cake was soft and fluffy with chunks of walnuts thus if I'm not gentle enough with my frosting, I could easily tear the cake apart.

The end result wasn't pretty (sad to say) but taste wise, we think it was pretty good except that I had forgotten to add in 2 tbsp of icing sugar to the cream cheese frosting. No wonder we both felt it was not sweet enough!

I made a chocolate sheet and tried to be creative by writing words on it but was too ugly :P



We had a relaxing brunch at graze, a cafe tucked along Rochestor Road. We decided on this place after I read from Evan's blog introducing the place because we wanted to go somewhere where we could just relax and chat the whole Sunday afternoon away. Do refer to Evan's blog as she had taken many fabulous pictures and tried out other items from graze. bingki ordered this vegetarian cast iron pan with slow roasted beans, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, eggplants, country potato, avocado and plum chilli salsa.

I ordered this baked omelette stacked with a choice of 4 extras. I chose smoked salmon, country potato, mushrooms and tomato. Other extras include bacon, ham, bratwurst sausage, onion or cheese. This was indeed one of the most luxurious and expensive breakfast we had but totally fulfilling.


For desserts, we shared this GRAZE pavlova. We were so glad we chose this over the rest as this was pretty unique with a crispy layer of meringue (pavlova), filled with freshly whipped custard cream oozing out when you break the shell. Paired refreshing treat of seasonal fruits and berries and atop with passionfruit sorbet.

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This carrot cake recipe was taken from Judy Koh's published VCD with 7 step-by-step recipes which I bought it at her school. The intial recipe was for a carrot muffin. It uses whisking of eggs method therefore the texture is very light and fluffy, as compared to those denser and more chunky carrot cake from Cedele which Mingli and I still think it's the best :)

This version is good as well f you prefer lighter texture. Here's the recipe if you are interested ;)
American Carrot Cake
Ingredients for Cake:
2 eggs
200g sugar
130g corn oil
1/8 tsp salt
90g milk
170g cake flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
50g toasted walnuts, chopped
115g grated carrot
1 tsp vanilla essence

Ingredients for Cream Cheese Frosting:
60g cream cheese
2 tbsp icing sugar
1/2 tbsp dairy cream
A pinch of cinnamon powder
1 tbsp Cointreau/Grand Marnier
1 tsp orange peel
Method:
  1. Sieved cake flour, baking powder and cinnamon powder. Mix 1 tbsp of seived ingredients into the toasted walnuts.
  2. Whisk the eggs, salt and sugar with an electric mixer until light and pale in colour (As there are only 2 eggs and quite alot of sugar, you do not have to whisk until it doubles or triples in volume. Just until it is light and pale and forms a ribbon when the whisk is lifted up will do).
  3. Fold sieved ingredients into the egg mixture. Add in walnuts and carrots.
  4. Scoop or pipe the mixture into baking cups and bake at 175°C for 15 to 20 minutes till cooked.
  5. Mix all the ingredients for the frosting with a mixer until smooth.
  6. Pipe or spread the frosting onto the cupcakes when cooled.
  7. You may also decorate with handmade marzipan carrots or walnuts.

5 comments:

evan 이벤젤린 said...

haha, so u went to graze! but i think their stuffs are really overpriced, and i won't be going back again for sure :p hope u enjoyed yrselves!

Aimei said...

Haha yes, I went to graze after reading your blog cos' you always have many places to recommend. I agree the prices are high, only the breakfast menu are "more affordable" though it's the most expensive breakfast I had as I said! haha... don;t think I'll go there again too. The ang mos thought I'm publishing for some magazines ,etc when they saw me taking photos!

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