“…it’s always the happy drunks that make things interesting …”
Big Bear’s Little Big Bear (so in sane language, that would mean the youngest of his two sons) was coming for a visit and we had the pleasure of celebrating his birthday with him and his little lady. A birthday cake was in order, but Little Big Bear says he is not a fan of sweets. However, he advises that he will eat carrot cake if his arm is twisted just so. Wonderful, I get to bake a cake today! I do not recall the last time I had carrot cake, and that’s mainly because I have never been too impressed with the cakes I buy at the bakery or grocery store.
My mission was to make a cake that would actually impress MY fussy taste buds. Yes, I know I am a selfish woman ’cause it’s not MY birthday. But you know what? Life is too damn short to eat unacceptable carrot cake. I mean, come on, it needs to be moist and flavourful; not too too sweet. Something with a little character would be nice. And I think this lovely cake nails it. It offers ‘drunk’ raisins that lend it a bit of a grown up taste. And by the way, these are a happy drunk raisin. Not a mean drunk raisin. It’s always the happy drunks that make things interesting.
I soaked the raisins overnight in a half a cup of coconut rum. If you don’t have coconut rum, plain rum will do just great. I was getting prepped to make my cake, and realized that I lent out a two of my three spring form pans. So I decided to roll with the punches and use only one. This worked out well because I really wanted to load the top with icing and shredded coconut. (If you want to make two cakes and layer them, this recipe will have you covered.) When the cake came out of the oven, it was a bit uneven. I let it cool and then took a long bread knife to it and cut the uneven top off so that it would look pretty and even when I frosted it.
Oh, and let’s talk about the cream cheese icing for a sec. I truly dislike that sickly sweet take-me-to-the-dentist-right-now cream cheese icing you find on some cakes. This icing has half the sugar in it, but the same amount of cream cheese, so you can taste the cream cheese and not the sugar. I could eat a bowl of this. Right. Now.
It turned out the the cake was given a thumbs up by all parties involved. It also paired quite nicely with these cinnamon bourbon shots which apparently are a pre-requisite to eating birthday cake when you turn 28. ♥
- Cake Batter:
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 3 eggs
- ⅔ cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 3 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1½ cups raisins - soaked overnight in coconut rum
- ½ cup sweetened shredded coconut
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 2½ cups flour
- 3 cups grated carrots
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Cream Cheese Icing:
- 4 8 oz / 227 gram bricks of cream cheese
- 8 tablespoons butter, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup icing sugar
- 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 8 inch cake pans.
- In a mixing bowl with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar, oil and eggs until well combined. Add the sour cream and vanilla and mix until combined.
- In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Still using your mixer, slowly add the dry ingredients and stir until well combined.
- Strain the raisins from the rum, and add to the cake batter along with the walnuts, shredded coconut and shredded carrots. Mix well.
- Pour the batter evenly between two cake pans and bake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out of the centre cleanly. If you are baking one cake, it may take up to 1 hour and 25 minutes. Continue checking with a toothpick after 1 hour.
- Let cakes cool completely before icing.
- Cream Cheese Icing:
- In your stand up mixer, cream the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until well combined. On low speed, slowly add the icing sugar. Increase the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, about 1 to 2 minutes.
- To arrange, place one cake with the flat side up on your cake plate. With a metal spatula spread the icing across the top of the cake so that it is a good ¾ to 1 inch thick. Place second cake on top with the flat side up. Use the remaining icing and spread the icing across and along the sides evenly. Using a butter knife on the edge of the cake, sweep the icing from the bottom of the cake to the top to make a nice even design along the whole perimeter of the cake.
- Sprinkle coconut on top. Refrigerate before serving.
Little Big Bear turned the tender age of 28. Just a cub. We love ya LBB. Happy Birthday from your family!