Feed Your Inner Bunny

Carrot Cake is on the menu this Easter!  While I will be making loads of mini cupcakes for the kiddos, I couldn’t overlook the adults who love to indulge in this classic sweet treat.   I had so much fun compiling my “Garnish Bar.”  I wanted to take a cheeky twist on the carrot themed decorations so instead of reaching for the orange and green frosting,  I used candied julienned carrots with a sprig of mint, carrot tuiles (better than sprinkles, trust me) and crystalized ginger in candied clementine twists. Your fingers may be a bit orange but I guarantee you won’t have any regrets when you leave the Cadbury Eggs to the little ones and take one of these upstairs for yourself!

INGREDIENTS:

*CAKE*

4 large eggs

1 1/2 cups corn oil

3 cups sugar, granulated

1 Tbs vanilla extract

3 cups flour, all purpose

1 tsp salt

1 Tbs baking soda

1 Tbs cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1 1/3 cup carrots, steamed and pureed

3/4 cup fresh pinepple, pulsed/crushed and drained

1/8 cup  fresh ginger, pressed

1 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

1 1/2 cups coconut

*FROSTING*

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature

6 Tbs butter, unsalted room temperature

3 cups confectioners sugar, sifted

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 Tbs lemon juice, fresh squeezed

*GARNISH BAR*

6 carrots, medium

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

clementine twists

mint (for garnish)

crystalized ginger

toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped

PREPARATION:

*CAKE*

  • Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease or line desired pans or muffin tins.
  • Combine flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg in medium mixing bowl and set aside.  In Kitchen Aid, combine eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla and mix on medium until light and creamy, about 5 minutes.  Slowly add dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated.  Turn mixer off and remove mixing bowl.
  • By hand using a rubber spatula, incorporate pureed carrots, crushed pineapple and ginger.  Gently fold in walnuts and coconut.
  • Pour batter into desired form.  Time will vary based on baking dish.  Mini cupcakes take about 11 min and a 9″ round take about 23 min.

*FROSTING*

  • Combine cream cheese and butter.  Mix on med high in Kitchen Aid until light and creamy, about 4 minutes.
  • Turn mixer down to low.  Slowly add sifted confectioners sugar.  Add vanilla and lemon juice to taste.  Mix until perfectly smooth.  Set aside.

*GARNISH*

  • Preheat oven to 250F
  • For the Candied Carrots, bring water and sugar to a simmer.  Use a vegetable peeler to julienne 4 carrots.  Place in simmering simple syrup for 15 minutes.
  • Allow to cool.  Remove from sugar mixture and wrap around the handle of oven safe wooden spoons to create an even spiral.  Place on rack in oven for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven, untwist carrots from spoons (they will roll off but maintain a memory), reform and return to rack, continue baking until completely dry and crisp 30-60 additional minutes.
  • For the Carrot Tuiles use the same technique.  Shave carrot on the diagonal, simmer in simple syrup for 15 minutes and allow to slowly dry on rack for approx 60 min in a low temp oven.
  • For the Candied Clementine Twists simmer in simple syrup for 15 minutes and allow to cool in mixture. Dry on a piece of parchment paper before using as garnish.

Happy Easter!

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