Saturday, November 24, 2012

Sheet cake decoration, tips (carrot cake for Thanksgiving)

Here is the 1/4 sheet cake I prepared for the Thanksgiving dinner hosted by our friends Mr&Mrs. Raynor. That's a very pleasant and happy thanksgiving celebration for us to be with their family on that day. We enjoyed many delicious dishes like whole turkey, bean rice, jerk chicken, homemade jerk sauce, Jamaican curried chicken, potato salad, Mac n cheese and Regi's prayer.  I made poori (fried whole wheat bread), South Indian chicken curry with coconut and cashew masala and carrot cake. We had a happy dinner together and enjoyed shopping till midnight:) Here I am giving out the recipes for the moist carrot cake, cream cheese icing, butter cream icing for this sheet cake. (Sugar proportions are varied for this particular cake for decorative purpose....this works for me). Also I have given some basic tips on making a large size sheet cake, soaking,  transporting the cake etc.

All praise goes to GOD.

Orange rose icing.
Flour, sugar, my recipe notebook, toasted walnut, orange peel.....ready for baking.
Carrot - 4
Apple (small) - 1
All purpose flour - 2 cup
large egg - 4
sugar - 2 cup
butter - 1 1/4 cup
shredded coconut (dry / fresh) - 3 tbsp
vanilla extract - 2 tsp
orange peel - 1 tbsp
orange juice - 3 tbsp
cinnamon powder - 1 tsp
baking soda - 2 tsp
baking powder - 2 tsp
salt - 1/2 tsp
walnut - 1 cup (toasted)
raisin - 1/4 cup

Shred the carrot. Core, peel and shred the apple. (Pineapple can also be used instead of apple, but sometimes that makes the cake soggy. So I use apple for controlled moisture) . Preheat oven to 350 deg (175 deg C) for at least 30 minutes before we start baking. Grease and flour the cake tin. Keep aside. Beat the eggs in a mixer or using a fork till fluffy. Then add vanilla essence,orange juice, sugar, butter and beat till its fluffy. Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt TWICE. Put it in a mixing bowl and add the liquids from mixer. Mix well. Add the shredded carrot,apple, coconut, orange peel, cinnamon, coarsely chopped walnut, raisin and mix slightly. The batter should be approximately of 7 cups. Now the batter is ready! Pour into greased cake tin. Bake at 350 deg F for 40 minutes or till an inserted skewer comes clean.

Cream cheese frosting:
Cream cheese - 8 oz (1 pack)
unsalted butter - 8 tbsp (1 stick)
confectioner's sugar - 4 cup
vanilla extract - 1 tsp

Bring cheese and butter to room temperature by leaving them in counter top(not any means ...this is important). Mash together the cheese and butter. Sift the sugar and add it along with vanilla essence. Mix well. Enough to frost 2 to 3 dozen cupcakes (1 tbsp icing per cake) or 9x13 sheet cake. Makes one tub (US) frosting.

Butter cream frosting:
Butter - 1/2 cup (1 stick)
confectioner's sugar - 4 cups
milk - 1 tbsp
vanilla extract - 1/2 tsp
salt - a pinch
food color - if needed

Bring butter to room temperature by leaving it in counter top. First beat the butter to fluffy. (I did manually using a fork, but a mixer is good for this).Mix other ingredients logically to get a smooth flowing but stiff icing.
Butter cream icing is ready!

Tips for moist cake finish / Soaking before icing:
Sugar syrup :
brown / white sugar - 3 tbsp
water - 1/2 cup
Microwave sugar and water for 2 minutes or heat in stove top till it gets slightly thick. switch off and let cool. After baking the cake, cool it completely in wire rack. Then transfer it to the base. If the cake needs to be transported, then stick the cake to the base with few tsp of icing. This steps prevents sliding of cake while carrying it. Then using a skewer randomly pierce all over the cake and brush the sugar syrup on top of cake. This keeps the cake very moist and delicious while refrigeration / storage. Then do the icing. Keep refrigerated. Keep in room temperature for at least 1 hour before serving.

Tips on transporting a sheet cake without much equipments.
Transporting the perfectly iced cake to the party location is equally as much challenging as preparing it. Here are some tips and tricks I use to transport the cakes without buying any special cake carriers.

USA cake sizes (standard / commercial)
Serving sizes may differ. It is always nice to make some extra servings while planning a party. Here is an approximate calculation for number of servings of cake in a very generous serving (2 to 3 inch pieces). One may increase the servings by reducing the portion, but I prefer to stick to the generous serving for my guests:)

Number of people vs size of cake (ref 1, ref 2)
8 inch cake =  8 to 10 people
Quarter (1/4) sheet cake (9x13 inch) = 18 to 20 people (28 formal / small servings)
Half sheet cake (11x15) = 30 to 40 people
Full sheet cake (18x24) = 70 to 80 people (110 formal small servings)

How to cut a 9x13 inch cake while serving:
9x13 is the normal homemade sheet cake size needed for a birthday party.
see how to slice the cake for 18/21/28 plates.

How to carry a sheet cake for a home party?
1.Buy a cake carrier / container. (or)
Use a cookie sheet as an inexpensive / reusable cake carrier as strong base (may be it wont have a lid or get creative to make a lid at home using a heavy duty aluminum foil) . I always keep a sturdy wooden board under the cookie sheet for extra strength, as many cakes may come up to 3 kg and the cookie sheets may wobble. This set up is good enough to transport within 1 hour drive if we have someone to hold the cake.
2. Glue the cake to cake base cardboard / cookie sheet by using some icing / frosting. By this way, cake won't slide while driving.
3. Have a responsible friend to hold your cake carefully. Plan the route, drive smoothly.
4. If the cake is larger and if we can't find a lid, then get creative and make a cake lid at home. This time I used a maruchen noodle box I got (free) from local grocery store as 'home made cake cover/ lid'. Just cut two sides and slide the lid to the cookie sheet without touching the cake....stays neat.
4. Don't transport cupcakes after icing. Do the icing in the party premises. Cupcakes are hard / expensive to transport if you are not commercial. So stick with sheet / round cakes:)

Time taken to bake a 9x13 inch cake:
40 - 50 minutes.

Always choose a very good quality cake tin. I prefer wiltons cake tins or glass pans for large cakes. They are quick to bake, even finish and results without browning the cakes.
Cool completely for 4 hours or overnight.

Plan the size of cake (as mentioned above) and buy ingredients earlier.
(1/4 sheet cake need 7 cups of cake batter).
Prepare the icings earlier and keep refrigerated. The sugar in the icing acts as a natural preservative and hence the icing can stay longer in fridge. I prepared the icings 3 days before thanksgiving day.
Cake should be baked on the day or two before icing. Keep it refrigerated with a cling wrap cover.
Icing can be done one earlier and kept refrigerated. Keep the cake in room temperature for at least 1 hour before serving  (melts the icing slightly and gives a soft texture).
Poori and chicken curry I made for thanksgiving dinner party.
Update Feb 21, 2014
Birthday carrot cake with pink roses and yellow flowers for Em


Babitha said...

Lovely thanksgiving cake

Unknown said...

Wow!carrot cake looks yumm.thanx for the elaborate step by step pictures

Chitra said...

wow, u have done it very well dear. Bookmarked. Nice explanation :)

Priya Suresh said...

Very detailed post, a page to be treasured,thanks for tips Viki.

Definitely useful for many of us,seems you guys have a wonderful thankgiving party..Pooris with chicken curry,inviting.

Dharma said...

Carrot cake so delicious and the rest of the recipes also.
I hope you pasarais a wonderful Thanksgiving day.

Happy week

Hamaree Rasoi said...

Hi Viki, cake looks awesome. Hope you had a wonderful thanksgiving.

Poornima Nair said...

The cake looks fabulous and the tips are very helpful!

Unknown said...

Awesome cake!! looks so cute!

kala said...

yummyyyyyyyyyyy cakeeeeee

Unknown said...

Beautifully done cake.


Following you.

Unknown said...

Beautifully done cake.

Yummlicious cake.

Following you.

AMWatson said...

Am I crazy or does this recipe never say when to add the shredded apple? I actually forgot about it until I was about to pour it in the pan. Just stirred it in and it turned out great.

AMWatson said...

Am I crazy or does this recipe never say when to add the shredded apple? I actually forgot about it until I was about to pour it in the pan. Just stirred it in and it turned out great.

Vikis Kitchen said...

Thanks for letting me know about the apple Watson. Now I am correcting it:) I add apple along with carrot. Thanks for the nice words. Keep visiting!