This is our first dessert post here at FoodieLawyer. We don’t post many desserts because we don’t cook many desserts. I don’t really have a sweet tooth (salty is my thing), and Dan does his best not to indulge his too often. But it’s a special occasion around these parts — today is our birthday! On August 7, 2010, FoodieLawyer came into the Internet world. We started this blog way back then as a hobby and method of keeping track of recipes we enjoy. At the time, we weren’t sure we would be able to come up with enough recipes each week or that anyone other than our families and close friends would read our content.
One year and way more regular readers (not related to us) than we ever expected, FoodieLawyer has grown into something between a vocation and a lifestyle for us. We are humbled by the experience and grateful for the support from so many of you who have come here this past year. It has been a year of meeting interesting people, documenting amazing food experiences, acquiring new cooking toys, and learning cooking techniques that we never would have considered a year ago. Through this little blog, we have discovered an even greater appreciation and passion for all things food-related, and we are thrilled to still be here — cooking, photographing, writing — and hopefully inspiring others to do the same. Happy Birthday to Us!
Although he doesn’t bake very often, Dan is always looking to learn new tips and tricks for all kinds of cooking. This is the first time he tried this parchment paper technique for keeping the cake from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Take a big piece of parchment paper and keep folding it in half, over and over…
…until you get a small triangle. Place the triangle on the bottom of the cake pan (ours have remove-able bottoms), with the point in the center. Mark the spot on the bigger part of the triangle that hits the edge of the cake pan…
…then cut the triangle along that mark. You may have to trim it a little more to get it to fit.
Tah-Dah! A handmade parchment paper circle for your cake. (Incidentally, “tah-dah” is defined by Urban Dictionary as “usually used to tell people ‘be impressed’ or ‘aren’t I just amazing.'” Be prepared for me to start using this phrase a lot more often on this blog. And in life.) After lining the pan with parchment, lightly coat it with butter and flour.
Now that the arts & crafts portion of our baking experience is done, it’s time to actually bake the cake. Given our lack of baking experience and the recommendation of friends who love carrot cake so much that they served it at their wedding, we used Ina Garten’s recipe (minus the pineapple.) Start by adding sugar, oil and eggs to a bowl, then beat these ingredients with an electric mixer until they are light yellow in color. Next, add the vanilla.
In a separate bowl, mix the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.
Add half of the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl with the wet ingredients.
Then toss the carrots, walnuts and raisins (we used a craisin/raisin mix) with the remaining half of dry ingredients.
Add the carrot mixture to the mixing bowl and mix everything together well. Mix, mix, mixie mix. Mixture. Lots of mixing. Sir Mixing A Lot.
Pour the batter into two even portions in your cake pans. If you are Dan, weigh the cake pans to determine whether they are evenly apportioned most precisely.
Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean — about 55-60 minutes. Allow the cakes to cool completely before icing them.
For the icing, start by bringing the butter and cream cheese to room temperature.
Then mix the butter, cream cheese and vanilla together with the paddle attachment until just combined.
All kidding aside, the kitchen scale is an extremely useful tool. Measure out 1 pound, 5 ounces of powdered sugar.
Add the sugar to the butter mixture and mix until smooth. Baking = Mixing.
Before frosting the cake, don’t forget to remove your homemade parchment-paper-circles. Nothing says “happy birthday!” like a big bite of paper in your cake.
Our cakes were pretty tall, so we decided to cut each cake in half to make a four-layer cake with frosting between each layer. Another handy tip that Dan discovered is to tear up a few pieces of parchment paper and place them around the edges of the cake stand (or whatever you are putting the cake on to ice it.) The parchment paper pieces will catch any icing drips for a pristine surface when you remove them and serve the cake. Professional!
Speaking of professional, this may be the first time either of us has ever iced a cake.
Next time? Less icing in between the layers.
Tah-Dah! The iced cake. Next time? Refrigerate the cake for about 15-30 minutes before frosting it.
Top with walnuts (or some other topping of your choice), then pull out the parchment-paper-icing-catchers.
Tah-Dah! Aren’t we just amazing?!
In all seriousness, we are so happy to be able to celebrate this first year of blogging. It has been a lot of fun, more work than we anticipated, and absolutely worth every minute of effort. We love this space and we actually use it ourselves — scanning weekly menus for inspiration and calling up old posts for recipes we want to cook. And to the extent that we have provided any inspiration for other home cooks out there — well, that’s just icing on the cake.