carrot and pecan cake

This week, we bring you our 59th bake from Claire Saffitz’s Dessert Person. This latest recipe from the Layer Cakes and Fancy Desserts chapter is the much-anticipated Carrot and Pecan Cake. We have now made Claire’s Cream Cheese Frosting for three bakes in a row; this time, it was the extra special Brown Butter variation.

Lauren’s Take

I LOVE CARROT CAKE. Ever since I was a kid and my aunt used to make this carrot cake at family dinners, carrot cake has sparked a sense of joy in me. Honestly, I think it might just be that I love cheese and carrot cake has cream cheese frosting typically but hey… nothing wrong with that. I have been looking forward to making this cake and have had to continuously tell myself that I was not allowed to skip ahead and make it multiple times. So when the time finally came, I made it as soon as I could. Unlike most of these bakes where I have a piece or a slice and then give most of it away, I kept this entire cake for myself AND I HAVE NO REGRETS.

My overall thoughts/realizations:

-I used walnuts instead of pecans, but I don’t think you can go wrong either way. Breaking down some of them into bigger chunks allows for a nice crunch in your cake

-Buy pre-shredded carrots and you will be happy you did

-Carrot cake batter is often a lot wetter than other cake batter. Do not let this worry you

-The mix of spices and fresh ginger in this cake smelt SO GOOD coming out of the oven

-Not only is cream cheese frosting amazing on its own, but BROWN BUTTER CREAM CHEESE FROSTING IS THE GREATEST THING IN THE WORLD. I genuinely could eat a whole case of it on its own, but it pairs so, so well with this carrot cake, and they balance each other out

 

 

 

As you can probably tell, I loved this cake and it lived up to the expectations I had for it. The cake is super moist and fluffy and has just the right balance of spices, but this frosting really is the star of the show. I would say that everyone else I shared it with loved it but….you’ll just have to take my word for it since I didn’t have any other taste testers this week 😉 Make this cake and you will not be sorry (but who is ever sorry after making cake really?). 6 STARS!!!

 

Julia’s Take

While there are a very few, if any, types of cakes I would ever turn away, I have never been the world’s biggest carrot cake fan. That said, I have heard nothing but rave reviews about Claire’s recipe since buying the book, and so I was very excited to give it a try and see what all of the hype was about.

When I say it met and exceeded all expectations, I mean it. This cake has the most perfect balance of flavours: warm spices like cinnamon and clove, the freshness of the grated carrot and lemon zest, the punch of the freshly grated ginger, and the earthy, toastiness of the roasted pecans. It is a VERY wet batter, but sets beautifully after baking and cooling and leaves you with a super moist, delicious cake.

I made my cakes the night before, and was a little nervous about putting them in the fridge because, even after cooling, they were SO soft and delicate. Luckily, all went smoothly. I took the cakes out of the fridge the next morning and got started on my Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting and holyyyyyy cow, this is a game-changer of a recipe. I have a new affinity for brown butter anything thanks to Claire, but putting it in cream cheese frosting is just a whole other level of genius. It almost tastes like toffee, and makes for the absolute dreamiest pairing with the carrot cake. I will never make another cream cheese frosting ever again.

Even taste testers of mine who are not normally carrot cake people couldn’t help but be impressed and fall in love with this cake. Make it immediately. 5 very enthusiastic stars from this baker!

Next week, we are bringing the summer vibes with Claire’s Strawberry Cornmeal Layer Cake. See you then!

 

 

confetti cake

We’re back with bake number 58 from Claire Saffitz’s Dessert Person. This latest recipe from the Layer Cakes & Fancy Desserts chapter of the book was a homemade spin on the classic funfetti boxed cake mix, Claire’s Confetti Cake. Since it uses a reverse creaming method (start with dry ingredients, then add butter, sugar, and end with eggs), you get a slightly denser, crumblier texture. Although we both prefer a fluffier cake, the flavour of this was delicious and nostalgic. Paired with the Cream Cheese Frosting, one of the book’s Foundational Recipes, and speckled with bright rainbow sprinkles, it was an eye-catching and really enjoyable bake. Both of us used our cakes to celebrate some special birthdays: Lauren’s cake was shared in honour of her brother-in-law, and Julia’s was part of a 70th birthday celebration for a family friend!

Lauren’s Take

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Julia’s Take

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coming up next week: the long-anticipated Carrot and Pecan Cake and Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting!

classic birthday cake

Our 56th and 57th bakes from Claire Saffitz’s Dessert Person come to you from the Layer Cakes & Fancy Desserts and Foundational Recipes chapters of the book: the Classic Birthday Cake, topped with the chocolate variation of Claire’s Classic Cream Cheese Frosting. What an excellent way to kick off this next chapter of our baking journey!

Lauren’s Take

WE FINALLY MADE IT TO LAYER CAKES. If you could not tell by my all-caps there, I have been LOOKING FORWARD to this chapter. Despite the finesse and technical ability you need for pies, tarts, cookies…there is something about a layer-cake that screams legit baker to me, even though technically they are usually a lot easier to do. I think I just love the idea of having more room for creativity and decorating. And they just look so impressive. So despite a few panic moments and a HUGE mess in the kitchen (see photo of the great sugar spill of 2022), I was super pleased the whole time I was baking this cake.

My overall thoughts/realizations:

-Pre-cut parchment paper rounds for cake pans is the only way to go. Buy them and you will not be sorry

-Making cake batter is a lot easier than anything else we’ve made so far

-Yellow cake is yellow because it uses a million egg yolks

-Make sure to cover your mixer when mixing the powdered sugar into your frosting

-Cream cheese frosting is indeed always the way to go

-Using a lazy Susan to ice your cake is genius and you will thank yourself for it

-A crumb coat is a game changer

-You can never have too many sprinkles

-People experience JOY when they see a birthday cake, even if it isn’t their birthday

I was so proud of this cake. The cake itself was so light and fluffy and delicious; it tasted like boxed cake, which is a HUGE win. The icing was just the perfect amount of sweet and balanced well with the unsweetened chocolate for a bit more depth of flavour. And then decorating?! It was so fun to try different designs with the icing and then go wild on the sprinkles. I chose a gold motif to make it feel like a New Years Cake and a “Happy Birthday to the World” kind of vibe! So happy birthday! Just for experience and the joy it brought me alone, I would give this cake a 5!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Julia’s Take

As much as I enjoyed all of the different flavours and techniques we were able to try while baking through the Bars & Cookies chapter, and as much as I appreciated the huge freezer store of cookies I was able to accumulate and then use up over the holidays, I have been ready to move on to a new chapter for a while now. While I’m slightly intimidated by the prospect of making some of these fancier desserts (*ahem* croquembouche), I have been really pumped to get in to more creativity with cake decorating.

This classic birthday cake did not disappoint. I had no idea until now that the difference between yellow and white cake is that the first uses primarily egg yolks, while the other uses primarily egg whites. It was amazing to see the rich colour you get from the yolks as the batter comes together. The texture of this cake was perfect— moist, fluffy, and everything you want from a cake.

I am also already in love with the cream cheese frosting in the book. There are a few different variations we’ll get to try over the next few weeks, and this chocolate version was so, so good. Not too sweet, which is key for me when it comes to frosting.

It was SO FUN to put my own personal spin on the final look of this cake. I was really happy with how oven my layers turned out (that’s never been a strong suit of mine…) and playing with the look of the frosting and sprinkles made for the best baking experience. This recipe gets 5-stars for sure!

Check back for our next bake: Confetti Cake!