Monday, March 24, 2008

Desserts so nice, I'll have to post twice!

Yes, believe it or not, I have 2 coworkers with the same birthday! And, they are brothers! It's a joke in the office that their parents were only allowed to conceive 1 day a year. They are 1 year apart but couldn't be more different. One prefers anything cream cheese based and the other "has" to have carrot cake. I made the mistake of stumbling upon this carrot cake recipe for another coworker about 2-3 years ago and since then it has had a cult following in our office. I got out of making it once this year because of the whole baby, lack of time thing, but I couldn't get lucky twice. Luckily, I really enjoy the cake too so even though it takes all day, it's all worth it when you taste it. Yes, I said all day but it is SO worth it for a special occasion. And yes, we celebrated his birthday on St. Patty's Day this year, thus the shamrock on the cake!

Since I am both a baker and a connoisseur of anything sweet, I am entering this in an event called Sugar High Friday. You can go check out all the other delicious delectables!

The ONLY Carrot Cake recipe you'll ever need, seriously!!

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 large eggs
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil (I use Canola)
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups shredded carrots
1 (8oz) can crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts)
Buttermilk Glaze, recipe follows
Cream Cheese Frosting

Line 3 (9-inch) pans with wax paper (or parchment); lightly grease and flour paper. Set pans aside. Preheat oven to 350. Stir first 4 ingredients together.

Beat eggs and next 4 ingredients at medium speed with mixer until smooth. Add flour mixture, beating at low speed until blended. Fold in carrots and next 2 ingredients. Pour batter into prepared cake pans.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Drizzle Buttermilk Glaze over all three cakes; cool in pans on wire racks for 15 minutes. Carefully remove all three cakes from pans and remove wax/parchment paper (an extra set of hands is helpful with this step!). Cool completely on wire racks. Spread Cream Cheese Frosting in between layers and on top and sides of cake. You can top with extra nuts or leave well enough alone!

Buttermilk Glaze

3/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup butter
3/4 tsp vanilla extract

Bring first 4 ingredients to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Boil, stirring often, 4 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla.

Cream Cheese Frosting

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 (8oz) package reduced fat cream cheese (NOT FAT FREE), softened
1 (3oz) package cream cheese, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed until creamy. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth. (Note: Don't add all the powdered sugar at the same time or it will fly everywhere!)