Saturday, April 14, 2012

My Strange Carrot Cake

Remembering that my future daughter-in-law wants some of the wedding cupcakes to be carrot cake, I looked at a bunch of recipes.  Then I remembered I may have to make 50+ on top of the 50+ of the other flavors and thought I'd try out the Duncan Hines Carrot Cake mix.  Foolishly, I still don't know if it tastes "right" but the reports have been encouraging.  You see, I made my hubby take the uncut cake to work where I wouldn't tangle with it and it would get eaten before it could dry out.  Cupcakes have a little longer life expectancy around here.  2 pieces of cake would be BAD for me, whereas 2 cupcakes … well, they’re little, therefore I can get away with eating 2 in an EMERGENCY.  (That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!)

The point of this project was to try out the cake mix.  The kids were kind of interested in having a small cake that they could freeze, per tradition.  So, what better way to try out my newly acquired cake decorating skills? 

Under normal circumstances, carrot cake comes with a cream cheese frosting but I wanted to work on decorating so I made the regular white buttercream frosting and used that.  In my class we learned to skim coat a cake, letting it set up and then frosting over that.  It makes the cake look so much nicer!  We also learned that the skim coat helps keep the cake moist if it has to be made a day before.

Teacher's Frosting "Shells"
My "shells" around the bottom
In the class, I flunked making "shells" with the #33 tip.  Here is how my teacher made them - I kept them for reference until they fell apart.  For whatever reason, getting the proper 'poof' at the top just wasn't happening.  Practice makes perfect and I still need a LOT of practice, but the shell decoration at the bottom of the cake came out pretty well.  On the other hand, the loop decoration around the top edge left quite a bit to be desired.

Roses, rosebuds, & leaves
Next came the roses.  They're really not that hard BUT, in my opinion, if your frosting isn't the right consistency it's a lot harder.  In this case, my frosting was too soft - should have added more powdered sugar but didn't think of it in time.  I used tip #104 and made the roses on waxed paper squares stuck with a dab of frosting on a flower nail and scooched them off onto the cake before they were dry enough - haste makes waste - but they weren't too bad and  the addition of leaves helped hide some boo boos and filled in a little.

Finally … the writing.  Since I knew this cake was going to work with my hubby, I didn't want people to think I didn't know any better than to use buttercream frosting on a carrot cake instead of cream cheese.  Having written "Happy Birthday …" a gazillion times in my life, I didn't think I'd have any trouble doing it on this cake.  WRONG.  In the past, I used the cake frosting in a can - much softer - and my hands were getting tired so my writing had seen better days.

Ta DA!  Finished cake!

The report back was that everyone loved the cake and several commented that they liked it better with the buttercream frosting.  Now that we're getting down to the wire, I think I'm going to have to run it by the kids and see which they'd like. 

And, I probably SHOULD try one, too!  (Oh darn!)

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