Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Big Fat Cake

Robb, Lewis and Robb's mum are driving from Arizona to Washington state. So of course the most direct line is by way of Los Angeles. I was worried that they may choose a different route so I promised them cake if they came to visit. Specifically Carrot Cake. My Carrot Cake.

I have a disease. I can't cook small. When I make "a" carrot cake it always gets too big and turns into two. Same with quiche. If I'm making two quiche, I wind up with 3. I know i should measure, but then I don't get enough. If I follow the measurements for two quiche, inevitably I have add some stuff at the end because the pans aren't even half full.

So I started THE CAKE on Friday for Saturday consumption. That's right, it takes more than a day.

I use the recipe from "the New Basics" cookbook. It doesn't have any photos so I won't compare myself and feel I've fallen short. My secret is I one and half times the recipe to make one cake. So it's sort of a cake and half right out of the book. I do other stuff like leave out walnuts, add in raisins, a little more this, a little less that. This time I added macadamia nuts and they were a big hit. If you have the recipe book check it out, if you don't have the book, here is a very similar recipe. I've not used this one on-line, but it looks close.

So Lyle demanded that I make "JUST ONE CAKE" and I had every intention of doing so. I measured out just enough coconut, the right amount of raisins, only one can of pineapple and then I added all my cooked grated carrots. Oops. I only needed about 2-3 cups of carrots and I think I put in closer to 7. So I started making more batter. One thing led to another and I had two 9x13 cakes in the oven. And I was in trouble.

Oh, another secret to my carrot cake is I use Tupperware Ultra 21 Ovenware to cook it in. They don't make it anymore and mine is golden to me. It distributes the heat very evenly and doesn't burn the cake in the corners while the middle is still a sloshy mess.

After I made the cake I set it out to cool overnight and went to bed. On Saturday I made the icing. Okay, I had basically 6 times the cake the recipe called for originally. So I needed a fair bit of icing. So I multiplied the icing recipe by 12. That's right, TWELVE. I don't even know the Latin term for that.

I cut the cakes in half horizontally to create four layers. I troweled on the icing over the first layer and set the next layer on top. The weight of the layer forced most of the icing out the sides. The battle had begun.

I cleared out an entire shelf in the refrigerator to hold the beast and cool the icing. I returned in half an hour and spread more icing on top, then placed the third layer on. Squish, out when most of the icing while the top layer started to slide to one side. I grabbed the layer and it split in many places. I grabbed toothpicks to pin it in place but they were too short. I grabbed steak knives and stabbed through the entire structure. Victory was mine.

It was then I realized that the cover of my cake container would not fit over another layer. Great, I had a fourth layer I couldn't even put on. I cut that final layer in three pieces and created an iceberg of icing three stories tall as a "bonus cake".

From 10 am to 4 pm I had the cakes going in and out of the fridge getting various layers of icing in the middle, on the sides, filling chasms, and finally decorating. Lyle asked if I was "getting fancy" with my cakes. I told him I had to do something because they weren't' looking so good.

Ultimately it didn't matter because they tasted so much better than they looked. We gorged ourselves on cake that first night and vowed that dinner on Sunday would be "light" (so we could fit more cake in after).

And that brings me to our photos. Here is my idea of a "light" meal.

We started with a green salad. Lettuce was from our garden. Cucumber, radishes, a pew pine nuts. Then I threw on some grated cheese for color. Someone mentioned there didn't look like there was going to be any protein at the meal, so I pulled out leftover steak from the night before, sliced it and coated it in chipotle Tabasco, salt, pepper and lime. I topped the entire salad with an oil and vinegar with shallots dressing.
That probably would have been plenty. But I had already started the gnocchi. Seated on a bed of sauteed peppers then topped with Parmesan cheese, lemon zest and a confetti of rosemary. Here's my secret, the gnocchi is out of the freezer section of Trader Joe's.
Stuffed to the gills, out came the cake. THE TWENTY POUND CAKE.
See, all that colorful icing? That's me getting fancy!
And here is a side view so you can see just how thick and overly iced it is. On the far right side, you can see the the cake is still sliding off top...


Rachel said...

I love that cake. You didn't say how the cake goes down better with ice cream.

Christina said...

I am so jealous and so hungry now - your food is so restaurant worthy.

my mouth is watering - num num mmmmmm as Tillie would say.

Michael Guy said...

That cake must have weighed 10lbs!!!


RE: the other delights...you do realize I haven't flipped the oven on in 10-months? YOU are such a whiz in the kitchen!

Carolyn said...

I don't even think I would be able to multiply by twelve. Math is not my strong suit. If I ever come over for dinner you can skip the cake and just make the icing! YUMMM!