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Bon Voyage Jen! (And Carrot Cake)

September 6, 2011

It’s a sad day in Boston.  As of 8am tomorrow, my friend Jen will be en route to her new life in Los Angeles.  And while I’m happy for her that she’s ending a LDR (long distance relationship) with her boyfriend, I’ll miss her terribly!  Tonight, a few friends gathered at my apartment for a final goodbye dinner.  The menu: tomato, goat cheese, and basil galetteonion tart; roasted asparagus; arugula salad; and the grand finale carrot cake.


That’s the onion tart.  You can sort of see the cheeseless half I made for my vegan(ish) friend.  Also do you know what a galette is?  I do.

The galette recipe called for feta, but since the onion tart had feta, I decided to go with goat cheese on this one.  Also, I realized I didn’t have all the ingredients to make the dough in the instructions, so I used the pastry from this recipe.  I really liked it, though I did undercook it a bit.  Woops.  I also used heirloom tomatoes because I googled “jewel box tomatoes” and felt very confused.  Plus heirloom tomatoes make me feel fancy.

So while there was no wine or whirleypop, the night was still a huge success.  I followed the galette and tart plans pretty closely, with just a few changes and swaps here or there.  I also couldn’t find refrigerated pie dough for the onion tart at my awful grocery store, so I went for puff pastry instead; it turned out great.

The star of the show though, the carrot cake (and Jen pictured above), was the winning recipe.  Inspired by tales of a carrot cake from Jen’s past (which I later found out was this one), I found this recipe on one of my favorite blogs, Shutterbean.  I screwed up a little bit with the frosting, since I accidentally only bought one 8-oz block of cream cheese rather than two.  So my version lacks the mountains of frosting it should have.  It still turned out delicious, and we decided this way we could call it diet carrot cake.  Right?  Right???


Cake Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup vegetable oil (canola is preferred)
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups lightly packed shredded carrots
  • One 8oz. can crushed pineapple in it’s own juice-with juice
  • 3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped toasted pecans  (1 cup for the garnish and 1 cup for cake batter)
Icing Ingredients:
  • 2 8oz. packages of cream cheese (softened and cut into little pieces)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (softened and cut into little pieces)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 5 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar

To toast the pecans, place on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes, or until lightly brown and fragrant. Set aside to cool. Lower oven temperature to 325 degrees. Grease and lightly flour two 9×2 inch round cake pans, then line the bottoms with wax paper. (I used Pam instead and it worked just fine!)

In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.  Set aside.

In stand mixer, beat the oil and sugar together. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat until light & thick. Add the vanilla and beat well. Gradually add the dry ingredients, beating until well combined.  Stir in the carrots, pineapple (and it’s juice), 1 cup of pecans and coconut (if you decide to use it). Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the layers cool in the pan for 1 hour. Remove from the pans and cool completely on a wire rack.

For the frosting, using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the whisking attachment (is that what’s it’s called?), combine the butter and cream cheese until combined.  Add the vanilla and mix until blended.  Slowly add the powdered sugar.  Put bowl in fridge for 2 hours so that frosting can stiffen a bit.  When the cake has cooled, ice between the layers, then ice the top and the sides. Put the toasted chopped pecans around the edges.  YUM!


4 Comments leave one →
  1. Jen permalink
    September 22, 2011 11:47 pm

    I just re-read this and wish I could re-eat it tonight!! I am looking for dinner suggestions and think I might try this onion thing. It was so delish!

    • September 24, 2011 1:26 pm

      You can never go wrong with caramelized onions.


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