Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Carrot Cake with Mascarpone Cream

I often heard about a carrot cake in my childhood, but I never tasted it. My grandmother, who was a every good baker, considered it a survivor cake which was baked only during the WWII when no better ingredients were available. She despised it later, in better times, as she believed that good cakes should be made from eggs, butter, and cream not carrot.

When I came to the US, I tried a few of the American carrot cakes and I must admit that some, if not too sweet, were very good--not too heavy, enriched with nuts, did not not have the taste of carrot at all, which I feared so much.

The other day, when I noticed that carrots I had in my refrigerator were about to start growing again, I decided to make my first carrot cake. I compared several recipes from different sources and, as always, the most convincing seemed the one from the Met Home. I liked it even more so because it had an Italian twist to it and was layered with my favorite mascarpone cheese frosting.

The cake turned out to be delicious--not too sweet and very moist. The only change to the original recipe I made when I was baking it for the second time, was chopping the walnuts instead of using halves and grating the carrot on a smaller grater, which distributed those ingredients more evenly in the cake. I also used more mascarpone and less whipping cream, which made it look better and taste richer.

Carrot Cake with Mascarpone Cream
(For a 9-inch baking form with a removable high wall)

2 cups finely grated carrot (about 6 medium carrots),
1 cup finely chopped walnuts,
2 large eggs,
1 cup sugar,
1 cup all purpose flour,
1 tsp salt,
1 and 1/2 tsp ground cardamon,
3/4 cup light vegetable oil as peanut or canola,
1 box (6 oz) mascarpone cheese,
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream,
2 tbsp honey or sugar,
icing sugar for finishing.

1. Grease the baking form with butter and sprinkle with flour. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Using a mixer beat eggs until light. Add sugar and beat until well incorporated.
3. In a medium bowl mix flour, baking soda and cardamon. Add to the mixture of eggs alternating with oil, until all the ingredients are well mixed.
4. Stir in walnuts and carrot. Blend it and transfer the batter to the baking form.

5. Smooth the top and bake until set and gold on top about 40 minutes.
6. In a medium bowl beat mascarpone with cream and honey (or sugar) until fluffy.
7. Cool down the cake, cut in half and spread mascarpone mixture on the bottom layer.

8. Cover the cream layer with the second layer of the cake. Dust the top of the cake with icing sugar. Cut and serve.

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