SMiLes by Meg

Easter Cake

I’m at the stage of Easter where I’m back in my apartment, as full of chocolate as physically possible, and still reaching for another piece because if I just make it go away now I won’t have to eat it later. We’ve all been there. It’s the mark of a truly great day.

And I had such a lovely Easter! I got to see so much of my family, which is always a treat, and the weather was nice enough to end with cartwheels in the yard with the next generation of cousins. Plus, I got to spend Saturday making this crazy cool cake.

I’m not calling it carrot cake, though the base recipe is a new carrot cake for me, because I’ve made the best carrot cake before. This recipe doesn’t have raisins or pineapple or coconut, so it’s a bit more scaled back, but I still thought the cake itself was pretty excellent. I’m calling it Easter Cake because that really feels like the only time you can make something this extravagant with cream cheese icing and Cadbury mini eggs and have it be OK.

It also feels like the only time I can acceptably match my cake when the cake involves so much pastel:

And, despite how impressive this cake looks, it actually wasn’t very hard, I promise! I’ll definitely be decorating other cakes this way in the future, though likely with buttercream – the cream cheese icing was a bit touch-and-go for the car ride from Boston to Duxbury in humidity.

So to make this cake, start by creaming the sugar, eggs, and oil on medium speed of a stand mixer until combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and ginger.

Add the dry ingredients to the mixer and beat on low speed until moistened and then medium speed until combined.

Finally, add in the grated carrots and beat to incorporate.

Spray three 6 inch cake tins with cooking spray and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Divide the batter evenly between the three pans. Note: 6 inch is smaller than the cake pans you have. You should buy some. They’re cheap on Amazon, and I got a brand called “Fat Daddio’s” that I’m pretty happy with. Plus, with 6 inch pans, you can make cute, tall cakes!

Bake at 350°F for about 35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool for 15 minutes in the tins before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. If you’re nervous about turning the layers (I always am), use a straight spatula to loosen up the sides.

The good thing about these layers is they bake pretty flat, so leveling isn’t totally necessary. The bad thing is that using raw sugar makes them kind of crunchy, so if you do have to level them, it’s tough going.

Anyways, as you wait for the layers to cool, make the LARGE quantity of cream cheese icing. Start by creaming the cold cream cheese and slightly softened butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy.

I used a hand mixer because I used my super big bowl, but I think it may have been the end of my hand mixer. It definitely had to work too hard to beat the cold cream cheese, and the smell of burnt rubber probably means it won’t turn on again.

Fortunately, this kitchen casualty was worth it. And I still have my stand mixer.

Next, add the confectioners sugar and beat until smooth and creamy.

Finally, add in the lemon juice and beat to combine.

Throw the frosting in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.

When you’re ready to assemble the cake, start by icing each layer and then creating a base coat of white frosting over the whole cake.

Put the cake in the fridge to chill. Take the rest of the icing and split into four bowls. Use a bit of gel food coloring in each to make 4 different colors.

Put each frosting into a piping bag with a different size tip. And then just start squeezing it on! Do some big spots with one color to start, and fill in the rest from there.

Got some extra white space? Fill in with Cadbury mini eggs!

At this point, I have to point out that Erik spent all day on video chat with me while I was making the cake, picking the colors and keeping me company. It was so nice to spend a day baking together from afar! Until he told me I ruined the cake with mini eggs, that is. We disagreed there.

Put the cake in the fridge for at least a half hour before serving, and definitely store it in the fridge. The cream cheese icing will hold for decorating purposes, but it will start to melt if left out too long.

Here it is at my Easter brunch today! And on my plate below:

Enjoy!

Easter Cake

Ingredients:

Carrot Cake

  • 2 cups raw sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 cups grated carrot

Cream Cheese Icing

  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 24 ounces cream cheese, cold
  • 3 pounds confectioners sugar
  • juice from 1 1/2 lemons

Directions:

Carrot Cake

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat sugar, eggs, and oil on medium speed until well combined.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and ginger.
  3. Add dry ingredients to mixer and beat until combined.
  4. Beat in carrots to distribute.
  5. Separate batter between three 6 inch cake pans sprayed and lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350°F for 35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Allow to cool 15 minutes in tins before flipping onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Cream Cheese Icing

  1. In a large bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the confectioners sugar and beat until smooth.
  3. Add the lemon juice and beat to combine.

Assembly

  1. Ice each layer of the cake, and then the entire outside, with white icing. Put in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Divide the remaining icing between four bowls and add a bit of gel food coloring to each to make 4 different colors. Put in piping bags with different sized tips.
  3. Pipe little blobs all over the cake, starting with big of one color and then smaller of other colors to fill in. Finish by pressing in some mini eggs.

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