Sunday, March 20, 2011

carrot cake: variations on a theme - part one

I got the new Food & Drink magazine for Spring 2011, and let me just say, I want to make EVERYTHING in it.  So, expect a lot of posts from it in the coming weeks and perhaps months.  One thing that had me particularly intrigued was their five variations on carrot cake.  I love carrot cake!  It is by far one of my favourite cakes and the idea of playing around with it had me more excited than any normal person would ever get about baked goods (but I'm not normal, so it's a-ok! - insert crazy person smile here).

After a bit of debate, I decided to try the double chocolate carrot cake with mocha mascarpone frosting first.  Mostly because I love chocolate but also because it was the biggest jump away from a traditional carrot cake. Plus, I found another recipe that uses mascarpone that I wanted to try.

The frosting for this cake is divine.  It's like a fluffy cloud of coffee crisp.  I love that it isn't greasy or too sweet like so many frostings tend to be.  I was tempted to sit there and eat the leftovers from the bowl with a spoon, but decided to show a little self control for once in my life.

Double Chocolate Carrot Cake with Mocha Mascarpone Frosting
Adapted from Food & Drink

For the cake:
5 cups grated carrots
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup cocoa
4 oz semi-sweet chocolate
1/4 cup milk
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla

For the frosting:
1 1/2 cups mascarpone cheese
1 cup cold whipping cream
2 tsp instant coffee granules
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups sifted icing sugar
1 1/2 tbsp sifted cocoa

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Spray or lightly oil two 8 or 9-inch cake pans.  (I did a half recipe in two 6-inch rounds)
2. Grate carrots, measure out 5 cups and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cocoa.
4.  Coarsely chop chocolate and place in a small microwaveable bowl and add milk.
5. Using an electric mixer, beat together oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a medium bowl for three minutes. 
6. Microwave chocolate and milk on medium heat in 30 second bursts until melted and smooth, stirring often.
7. Pour the chocolate into the egg mixture, stir well and then add to the dry ingredients.  Add carrots and mix until the whole thing just comes together.
8. Divide among pans and bake for 35 to 38 minutes.
9. For the frosting, place the mascarpone in a medium bowl.  In a small microwaveable bowl, heat 1/4 cup of the whipping cream and dissolve instant coffee granules.
10. Add the coffee mixture to the mascarpone and beat until smooth.  Beat in cold whipping cream and vanilla.
11. Sift together the cocoa and icing sugar and gradually beat in to mascarpone.
12. Assemble cake when cool and enjoy!!


  1. that looks amazing. I should have stuck around for a slice of that. (but the scones were delish too, so I'm not complaining)

  2. i should have been more on the ball so you could have had a piece. that frosting...i still can't get over how good it is. this recipe is a keeper!

  3. I just realized that I posted that on 4/20. I swear to you that I am not high!