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“Communication Breakdown" Carrot Cake With Whipped Goat Cheese Frosting
By Ryan Alvarez and Adam Merrin
Blog: Husbands That Cook
Kitchen disasters can happen to anyone—even on your birthday. Every August, Ryan bakes me a cake (best husband ever), and one year, I requested a carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. While he was busy baking, I stepped into the kitchen, and it was like walking into a Jackson Pollock painting. There were masses of grated carrots covering the walls, bits scattered over the floor, and even a few dangling from the ceiling. Since we didn’t have a food processor at the time, he had been strenuously grating carrots for the last half hour, and the first words out of my mouth were, “What did you do in here?!” Tensions rose, and words not worth repeating were exchanged, but the story gets worse.
While Ryan continued mixing the batter, I thought it would be helpful to clean the kitchen, so I gathered up peels from every inch of the room, then stuffed them all down the disposal, which began producing terrifying murky sounds while water backed up and started filling the sink. Then, suddenly, the pipe under the cabinet exploded, sending a torrent of filthy water and carrot peels pouring onto the floor.
We laugh about it now, and thankfully, the cake—and our relationship—survived the Great Carrot Flood of 2005. This recipe is appropriately named after that chaotic day. We kissed and made up, and we learned two valuable lessons: Don’t ever put carrot peels down the garbage disposal, and be nice to your significant other, especially when they are making you a birthday cake.
Makes one 2-layer, 8-inch cake, Serves 12 to 16
Special tools: electric mixer
FOR THE CAKE
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, for greasing the pans
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups granulated sugar
1½ cups toasted walnut oil (see note)
4 large eggs
3 cups grated carrots (about 5 medium carrots)
FOR FROSTING AND ASSEMBLY
6 ounces goat cheese, at room temperature
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar
⅓ cup finely chopped pecans, for garnish
TO MAKE THE CAKE
Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease two 8-inch cake pans with butter, line the bottoms with circles of parchment, and grease the parchment.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Whisk to combine, and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the sugar and walnut oil, and whisk until smooth and blended. Add the eggs, and whisk until combined. Gradually add the flour mixture, stirring until just combined. Then fold in the carrots until blended. Divide the batter evenly between the two cake pans, and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 40 to 45 minutes. Let the cakes cool for a few minutes in the pans, then invert the cakes onto wire racks, remove the parchment paper, and cool completely. Use immediately, or wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
TO MAKE THE FROSTING
Place the goat cheese and butter in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on medium until smooth and evenly combined, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla and continue beating until smooth. Gradually sift the powdered sugar into the mixing bowl in several additions, stopping to mix between each one. Continue to beat until light and fluffy.
TO ASSEMBLE THE CAKE
Place one cake layer on a serving plate. Spread half the frosting over the layer, all the way to the edge.
Place the second cake layer on top of the first, then spread the remaining frosting over the top. Sprinkle the nuts over the frosting. Kiss and make up, serve, and enjoy!
- Toasted walnut oil adds a delicious nutty flavor and can be found in many supermarkets and online. If you can’t find it, any neutral vegetable oil can be used instead.
- Don’t ever throw carrot peels down the garbage disposal (see cautionary tale above).
- To make a 6-inch, 2-layer cake that serves 6 to 8 people, cut the cake and frosting recipes in half. The layers will be slightly taller, so be sure the cake pans have sides at least 2 inches high.
From Husbands That Cook: More Than 120 Irresistible Vegetarian Recipes and Tales from Our Tiny Kitchen. Copyright © 2019 by Ryan Alvarez and Adam Merrin and reprinted with permission from St. Martin’s Griffin.