Monday, November 4, 2013

Carrot Cake

My sister came for a week visit last month and I promised to make her trip to the island worthwhile by bringing her to a few of my current favorite places to eat, (because there is nothing much to do around here but that), and to cook for her. She told me that wasn't necessary as the purpose of her visit was to spend time with his nephew. Still, I cannot let her go hungry. And so she let me drag her onto a weeklong gastronomic trip around the country.

I took her to the "new" Hash House in Adliya, the island's most happening place. The new ownerstotally revamped this resto. This now tops my list when I'm craving for Thai food.

Hash House

 Then, to my favorite place for afternoon tea, The Tea Room @ Trousseau. They serve the best scones which pairs perfectly with rose bud tea. Divine!

The Tea Room @ Trousseau

The Tea Room @ Trousseau

And of course I had to bring her to my favorite restaurant outside the city that serves delicious arabic food with a modern twist, Villa Mamas. The chef is also a forerunner in advocating organic, local products and produce in the restaurant scene in the island. Definitely a must try when in Bahrain.

Eggplant Explosion, a modern twist on the Persian dish kashk-e bademjan @ Villa Mamas

Shish Barak, lamb in wonton wrapper with yogurt sauce @ Villa Mamas

We visited several more but posting all the photos might be too much for this blog, (follow me on instagram instead!).


And because I also promised to cook for her, I made mushroom risotto with truffle oil for dinner and taught her how to bake this decadence, a 3-layer carrot cake. This cake has become a family favorite and I think it's time to share it with y'all.

The recipe was adapted and slightly modified from Chef Emeril Lagasse's recipe; (for the link, click here). The only modifications are: (1) I used only half of the pecans called for this recipe and sub the half with walnuts, because the husband is not a fan of pecans. And (2) for the frosting, the original recipe called of 1lb of sugar which I find too sweet for my liking, so I made my frosting with just 3 cups of sugar instead.

My sister's visit was short but sweet...even sweeter than cream cheese frosting. And that's what we live for. We may live miles apart but our hearts will always be together. And when we are together, we build memories that will last...until we meet again.

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Inactive Time: 60 minutes
Baking Time: 30-40 minutes
Total Time: 130-140minutes


3 sticks, plus more for coating the pan, room temperature
2 cups caster sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsps baking soda
2 tsps ground cinnamon
1 tsps salt
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 cups grated or (food processor) chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts

Cream Cheese Frosting:

8 ounces cream cheese
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans,
1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts


1. Preheat oven at 180*C.
2. Prepare 3 (9in) cake pan, coat inside of the pan with butter, line with parchment paper, then coat again with butter. Set aside.
3. Sift dry ingredients together, (flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt). Mix well.
4. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream butter for 1 minute or until smooth. Add the sugar and beat over medium speed until light and fluffy. Alternately add eggs and dry ingredients over medium speed. Add vanilla extract. Add carrots and beat until well mixed. Then fold in the nuts. 5. Divide the mixture into 3 pans and bake for 30-40 minutes. Check with a toothpick or cake tester, if the toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes clean, the cake is done. *I usually like my cake really moist and don't go over 30 minutes. But, since I'm making a 3 layer cake, I let it bake a little longer so the bottom layer withstand the weight.
6. Cool in the pan for 30 minutes. Remove from pan and let the cake cook for a further 30 minutes on the cooling rack before icing.

For the Frosting:

7. In a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, whisk the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar over medium speed. Once all the sugar is incorporated, crank up the speed to high and mix for a further minute. To assemble:
8. Line 3in parchment paper around the cake stand. Place bottom layer cake. Frost the top, about 1cm thick. Sprinkle half of the mixed chopped nuts. Top with the middle layer and repeat the process. Finally add the top layer and frost generously with the remaining frosting.

Update, 16 Sep 2015: My sister came to visit again a 2 weeks ago and she requested I make her this cake again which I gladly obliged. This has now become a family favorite.

Carrot Cake I

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