Monday, June 18, 2012

Caramel Injected Cinnamon Carrot Cake

There are certain things that terrify me in the kitchen. One is that moment when you have your hand inside a wine glass trying to clean it (my hands are small, okay) and for a moment you hope that it hasn't broken between plopping it in the water and putting your hand in there. Another is choux pastry. Attempting things that are infamously difficult, like french macarons, croissants. Using every possible dish and then having to clean the mountain that's looming over your head.
And following recipes that sound scarily daring. Disastrous. Just plain wrong. Too risky.
Usually I avoid these guys like the plague. But I was so curious and so excited by the idea of this Caramel  injected Carrot and Cinnamon cake, I just had to make it anyway.
The Secret Recipe Club helped me discover the lovely blog Life's Simple Pleasures by Jess, and through her, this decadent, gooey recipe had us all drooling as it was cooking and as we waited for it to cool.
Nuts, fruit and vegies rolled into one divinely moist cake, seeped with sticky caramel and topped with cinnamon spiced cream cheese icing...oh my! It had us all on our knees begging for more. Fortunately for our hips, it got shipped off to hubby's work come morning, to the strong protestation of my taste buds. It was too dangerous to have in the house. Me, alone all day in the house with two small non judgmental babies, and that cake staring me in the face? You've got to be kidding! So off it went.
Fortunately Hubby and I got a good taste of it before we bid it farewell, and it was as scrumptious as it looks and sounds. Luke said it was the best carrot cake he had ever tasted, and I couldn't have agreed more. MAKE IT! It's no ordinary cake.
The thing that scared me about this cake, was that the instructions ordered holes to be poked into the surface of  the cake when it was removed from the oven, and a buttermilk caramel was to be smoothed over the top and into the holes to form a moist, gooey and delicious cake. I envisioned a soggy, crumbling cake being the end result. But the caramel set nicely in the wells, and thickened there, and when I iced it, the caramel didn't budge. When I cut it, caramel slowly oozed from it's sweet hiding place and drizzled onto the plate. The cake stayed dense and firm, softened only a little by the caramel. I think I may have over-mixed the batter because it was a lot denser in texture than the pictures Jess posted on her blog. Never the less, it didn't detract from the glory of the cake, nor the taste. It was so rich, so decadent. Who ever knew something as ordinary sounding as carrot cake could be something so extraordinary? Thanks to Life's Simple Pleasures I now have a new favourite for my must-keep recipe book.



CARAMEL GLAZED CINNAMON CARROT CAKE (Adapted from Life's Simple Pleasures)

Cake:

3 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup light vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla essence
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 cups plain flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
pinch salt
2 cups grated carrot (about 2 large carrots worth)
220g crushed pineapple, undrained
1 cup (110g) chopped pecans

Glaze:

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup butter
1 tbsp. golden syrup (or corn syrup)
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla essence

Icing:

350g (about 12 oz) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla essence
3-4 cups icing sugar

Preheat your oven to 180C. Grease and line a lamington tin (13x9 inch) with baking paper and set aside.
To make the cake, place the eggs, buttermilk, oil, vanilla and sugar in a large bowl and beat until smooth.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt and stir to incorporate.
Gradually add this dry mix to the wet mix and stir until just combined. Fold in the carrot, pineapple and pecans. Pour into the prepared tray and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the cake springs back when lightly pressed on the surface.
Once you have removed the cake from the oven, take the handle end of the spatula, or spoon, and randomly poke holes into the cake (see picture. I poked about 30 holes in the cake.)
Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, to make the glaze, place a medium saucepan on the stove. Place the sugar, buttermilk, butter and syrup into the saucepan and then add the baking soda. Place over a medium heat and stir constantly, as the soda causes the liquid to foam and stirring helps it subside. Stir until the mixture turns a walnut colour, for about 5-8 minutes. Stir in the vanilla essence and pour over the cooling cake. Smooth with a spatula so that the glaze covers the whole of the cake and seeps into the holes.

To make the icing, place the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl, and beat until light and fluffy. Add brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla essence. Slowly add the icing sugar and mix until you get the desired texture. When the cake is completely cooled, either spread the icing over the cake or pipe it as preferred. Garnish with a little extra cinnamon or pecans, if desired.


Makes about 24 serves, depending on how you cut it.


18 comments:

  1. Wow! What a fantastic idea. I remember "poke cakes" from when I was a kid. But, they were filled with jello or pudding. (Yah, kind of gross.) Caramel? Now that's something I could get behind. I bet it would work with a thick fudge, too.

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  2. Oh my! This looks so delicious! Great SRC pick!

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  3. I'm SO incredibly happy you tried this recipe, it can be a bit intimidating but it's much easier than you would think. And the results so worth it! I agree with you, this is a dangerous cake to have around the house :)

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  4. It only took the words "Caramel" and "Carrot" to have me do a double-take and, reading through this, I think I need to print out this recipe and make it for a dear friend of mine who loves anything carrot cake related.

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  5. Love the look of this cake - the filling and the topping. Delicious!

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  6. Oh, I just love poke cakes. and Cinnamon OH MY! YUM!

    My recipe from SRC today was quick, easy and so delicious! Come check it out! http://momscrazycooking.blogspot.com/2012/06/german-chocolate-cracker-candy-secret.html

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  7. Wow looks devine. I made your rafaello balls from your blog for src and they were amazing.

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  8. How could you ever go wrong with 'caramel injected' C:

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  9. Oh my goodness~this sounds so delicious, and it's gorgeous! What a great recipe!

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  10. That looks sooooo sinful! My sister is a carrot cake aficionado so I will have to make this for her to see what she thinks! (I have the same fear about washing wine glasses!) :)

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  11. What a delicious looking cake. Congrats on getting it out of the house quick! I probably would have kept a slice for a mid day snack! Great SRC pick.

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  12. I wish I was at your husband's work because I would have gladly taken a piece of this! Wow, everything I love and all in one place. Delicious! Great pick.

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  13. Oh my word, I wish that I worked at your husband's office. I am so making this cake, it looks gorgeous!

    If you haven't already, I'd love for you to check out my group "A" SRC entry: Candied Popcorn.

    Lisa~~
    Cook Lisa Cook

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  14. This looks like the carrot cake from heaven!
    xo
    http://allykayler.blogspot.ca/

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  15. Delicious ! Love this carrot cake :) Carrot is very good for eyes too !

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  16. Hi,

    I found your blog through Pinterest and I would love to invite you to share this, and any other posts you would like to, at my Creative Thursday Link Party at www.michellestastycreations.blogspot.com. (Runs through Monday each week)

    Have a wonderful day,
    Michelle

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Give me some sugar, Sugar...