This week's SMS was chosen by Julie of A Little bit of Everything: carrot cake with orange cream cheese frosting! I love carrot cake (as well as cream cheese frosting) and it's been quite a while since I've baked one, so I was looking forward to this recipe. Unfortunately, when I made it yesterday, my baking mojo was nowhere to be found. Generally, I'm pretty methodical when I'm baking - you sort of have to be, right? - but I managed to screw this recipe up two separate times before all was said and done. More on that later...
It's become all too common lately for me to make cupcakes when a layer cake recipe is chosen for one of my baking groups, and I was determined not to go that route this time. My friend Margot suggested a mini layer cake and it was the perfect idea! I made 1/4 of the recipe and had just enough batter to fill two of my 4.5-inch mini springform pans. This is also the point where I should mention my first mistake - not greasing the pans before I poured the batter into them! In fact, I didn't even realize I hadn't greased them until I pulled the cakes out of the oven when they finished baking. The only saving grace was that I had put a round of parchment in the bottom of each pan. So, luckily, I was able to get the cakes out of the pans in one piece. The baking time for my mini cakes was almost 30 minutes. My other change to the recipe was to omit the nuts and substitute an equal amount of crushed pineapple.
In making the frosting, I ran into my second problem. I added the first three ingredients to the mixer bowl - sugar, orange zest and cream cheese - and started to beat them together. A minute later I noticed the untouched bag of confectioners' sugar on the counter and realized I'd accidentally incorporated granulated sugar instead. I'm not sure how the recipe would have turned out had I kept going because I played it safe and started over. The cream cheese frosting from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes book is my absolute favorite go-to recipe but this one was pretty tasty. My main complaint about this one - it wasn't completely smooth. I'm not sure why I had lumps (I sifted the sugar) but I added some toasted, shredded coconut to the top of my cake to mask the unattractive frosting. I did like the specks of orange zest and the added flavor. I made 1/4 of the frosting recipe and had plenty to cover my mini layer cake.
I really enjoyed this cake. It was moist and flavorful and complemented perfectly by the orange cream cheese frosting. In fact, this may be in my top 3 recipes we've made so far in the group! Thanks, Julie, for a great pick this week! You can find the recipe on her blog or in the Sweet Melissa Baking Book.