Week 91: “Carrot cake”

It has been a while since my last carrot cake, and though I was in search of a nicer recipe, I just did not come across anything intriguing enough for me to want to give it another go. That is, until I come across this. I have always loved recipes with a twist, and boy, this recipe is so full of twists I am not sure I can even call it a carrot cake anymore. The one thing that I didn’t quite like about the recipe is the lack of cream cheese. I mean, carrot and cream cheese frosting – to me, that’s what makes a carrot cake. Without it, somehow, just feels wrong. Also, there’s way too many components, most of them accompaniment, which, as I am baking a cake, doesn’t seem quite relevant. So I made a few changes and came up with my own version of carrot-cake-with-a-twist.
Makes a 6″ round cake

For the cream cheese mousse

1/2 tsp gelatine powder, bloomed in 1/2 tbsp cold water

90g cold whipping cream

90g cream cheese, at room temperature

10g fine granulated sugar

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1) Melt the bloomed gelatine powder in the soaking liquid over a bain-marie and set aside.

2) Whip cold whipping cream until just soft peaks form. Add the melted gelatine and continue whisking until firm peaks. Scoop into a bowl, cover, and refrigerate.

3) Using the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth.

4) Add the vanilla extract, and continue whisking until light and fluffy.

5) Pour cream cheese mixture into the whipped cream, and fold until well-mixed.

6) Scrap cream cheese mouse into cling wrap lined 6″ cake tin. Freeze under required.

For the carrot jelly

3 gelatine leaves

80g peach jam

80g carrot juice

1) Line a 6″ round cake tin (preferably with removable bottom) with cling wrap.

2) Bloom the gelatine leaves in cold water.

3) Heat the peach jam and carrot juice in a small saucepan until jam is runny.

4) Remove jam mixture from the heat, and stir in the gelatine leaves until melted.

5) Pour the mixture into the lined cake tin and allow to set in the freezer. Once set, remove from the cake tin and wrap tightly with cling film until required.

For chocolate Nutella crunch

20g dark chocolate couverture

100g Nutella

16g feuilletine crunch

1) Draw a 6″ round on parchment paper.

2) Melt the chocolate and Nutella over a bain-marie.

3) Fold the feuilletine crunch into the melted chocolate and scrap it into the prepared parchment paper and spread it to fill the 6″ round.

4) Allow to set in the freezer and wrap tightly in cling film after it was frozen.

For the carrot cake

50g cake flour

40g light brown sugar

2g bicarbonate of soda

1g baking powder

1g salt

1 egg

30g grapeseed oil

2g ground cinnamon

40g carrot, grated

20g green apple, peeled and grated

12g walnuts, roughly chopped

25g sultanas

1) Pre-heat oven to 160C fan. Grease and line a 6″ cake tin with parchment paper.

2) Place flour, brown sugar, bicarb soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl and stir to combine.

3) Add in egg and oil and mix using a hand whisk until combined into a smooth mixture.

4) Add remaining ingredients and mix until they all just come together.

5) Pour mixture into prepared cake tin and bake in the oven until a skewer comes out clean, about 25 to 28 minutes. Remove from oven and place in freezer.

For the cream cheese namelaka

2 gelatine leaves

12g cold water

50g white chocolate couverture

140g cream cheese

100g whole milk

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/2 vanilla bean paste

5g liquid glucose

200g cold heavy cream

1) Cut the gelatine leaves into small pieces and allow to bloom in the cold water.

2) Melt the chocolate and cream cheese in a large bowl over a bain-marie.

3) Put the milk, vanilla extract and glucose into heavy-bottomed saucepan and heat to 90C.

4) Remove the milk mixture from the heat and stir in the gelatine and the soaking liquid until melted.

5) Pour half the milk mixture into the melted chocolate and stir until well mixed. Then add the rest of the liquid and stir well.

6) Add the cold cream and vanilla bean paste, then use a hand blender to process until smooth.

7) Cover tightly with cling wrap, making sure to press the film onto the surface of the cream. Allow to refrigerate for about an hour to set slightly.

For the caramel glaze

150g heavy cream

1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract

190g caster sugar

160g water

15g cornflour

35g white chocolate couverture

6 gelatine leaves, bloomed in cold water

1) Place heavy cream and vanilla extract in a saucepan and bring to a boil.

2) Meanwhile, place 175g of the sugar and 140g water in a saucepan and set over medium heat, stirring just until sugar dissolves. Allow to heat until caramel in colour. While whisking, pour boiled cream over caramel.

3) Combine remaining 15g caster sugar and cornflour in a bowl, add remaining 20g water and stir to make a paste. Add paste to caramel. Bring the mixture back to the boil and continue cooking, whisking, for a few more minutes. Remove from heat.

4) Place chocolate in a bowl, pour over caramel mixture and stir to combine. Add gelatine and stir until dissolved. Strain into a jug and cover surface with plastic wrap. Allow to cool to room temperature.

To assemble

A handful of chopped walnuts for garnish (optional)

1) Wrap one side of a 6″ round cake ring with cling wrap and line the inside of the ring with acetate.

2) Set the cake ring on a baking tin, with the cling wrap side down.

3) Scoop a generous layer of cream cheese namelaka into the cake ring.

4) Trim the cream cheese mousse layer to roughly 1cm smaller than the cake ring, then put the cream cheese mousse onto the namelaka in the cake ring.

5) Spread a thin layer of namelaka on top of the cream cheese.

6) Trim the carrot jelly down to size then place it into the cake ring. Cover with another thin layer of namelaka.

7) Trim the chocolate Nutella crunch layer then place it into the cake ring.

8) Spread a layer of namelaka on top of the chocolate crunch.

9) Slice the carrot cake in half horizontally then put one layer of it into the cake ring. Press it in so the namelaka levels out with the carrot cake.

10) Set the cake in the freezer overnight.

11) To glaze, warm the glaze to about 40C.

12) Remove the frozen cake from the cake ring by warming the ring with your hands then gently pushing it out from one side. Peel the acetate sheets from the cake.

13) Set the frozen cake on an overturned bowl atop a plate to catch any dripping glaze.

14) Pour glaze onto cake, starting in the middle of the cake and circling to cover the entire cake surface as well as the sides.

15) Allow the glaze to drip off the using a large spatula, move the cake onto a cake board.

16) Garnish the bottom edge of the cake with chopped walnuts.

This is definitely a very interesting carrot cake. And the actual carrot cake layer is pretty good too. Dense and very moist. If I make this again, I’d probably skip the cream cheese mousse layer, and use 2 carrot cake layer, so that it’s more “carrot cakey”. But overall, it is a nice cake and I’m looking forward to my next slice.

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