It is the third Monday of the month which means it is Secret Recipe Club time! Each month we are assigned the blog from a SRC member, we cruise through their site discovering all kinds of things we can’t wait to make, and then narrow it down to just one (sometimes two) recipes to make and share with you! How does White Chocolate Studded Carrot Cake sound to you? Oh yeah, the perfect dessert for Easter Sunday or any time of the year!
This month my SRC Buddy is Sachi of Get off the Couch and Cook food blog. Sashi is a fun artist with black and pink hair (which I love) who works a corporate job to pay the bills – just like my own Artist. She is a Midwesterner who is living in Atlanta. She discovered that she is medically required to avoid most processed foods, so she makes Real food master creations from scratch. We definitely share that passion!
Sashi creates recipes that can be made in about the time it would take to order pizza – 45 minutes or less. She uses real ingredients, no substitutes for fat, sugar, etc. preferring to eat less of higher quality foods. We are soul sisters! She is also my hero after losing 65 pounds by just eating healthier and avoiding fast foods. Brava Sashi! She has many wonderful recipes that I can’t wait to come back and try. Her Loaded Baked Potato Salad is calling my name, her Chicken Alambre with homemade chorizo speaks to my heart, and I making an excuse to make her Bacon Cheeseburger Potato Boats as soon as possible – oh my heavens! And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
But with Easter coming up I wanted to find a really fun treat, a showcase dessert to make your whole family drool at the sight! Today’s White Chocolate Studded Carrot Cake totally fits the bill and I love the droll humor in serving a carrot cake for your Easter Bunny supper LOL. Sashi and I both made ours in a 9×13-inch pan (so much easier to transport to our family dinner at my father-in-law’s) but for a more dramatic presentation you can make this in two round cake pans. Traditionally carrot cake is served with frosting between the layers and on the top, but leaves the sides uncovered. Set on a pedestal, this beauty is a joy to behold.
I love that Sashi used vegetable oil and applesauce to replace the traditional butter in the recipe. This makes for a very moist and tender cake and is a great trick if you are trying to reduce your saturated fat intake. The shredded carrots also add moisture, so get ready for one awesome cake!
And speaking of carrots, this is the time to break out the food processor and shredding disc. Trim the carrots and peel, then cut them in half crosswise. This gives you pieces you can stand up in the tube of your processor, making it even faster. Use the pusher while you hold down pulse button and the carrots will be shredded in seconds!
I made changes to convert the recipe to gluten-free so I can enjoy it along with everyone else and added white chocolate for Chocolate Monday – who doesn’t love discovering bites of luscious white chocolate in every bite! Subbing brown sugar for part of the granulated sugar adds beautiful caramel overtones, and using mascarpone for a portion of the cream cheese in the frosting lightens it and makes it The Artist’s favorite frosting.
Another thing The Artist is passionate about is cardamom – he’s kind of addicted, so finding ways to include it in my sweet and savory recipes always tickles him. This may seem like a ton of changes, but fundamentally the recipe is the same – take a look at Sashi’s original here. She doesn’t have to be gluten-free so her version is gluten-full and delicious! Make both renditions and see how easy it is to take a great recipe and make it your own!
I loved spending hours browsing through Sashi’s blog and finding so many fun recipes to try. It is such fun getting to “know” and discovering new bloggers and I will definitely be following Get Off the Couch and Cook – you should too!
Happy Chocolate Monday!
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
Because of the moisture and amount of sugar in the batter, this cake stuck pretty badly to my pan even with butter and a nonstick surface! Next time I will use an insulated pan or set this one on a baking sheet, in effect double panning it, protecting the bottom from getting too hot. I will also use the bottom oven which lets me set it farther from the heating element.
Practice baking is always a good idea if you are making something for the first time to serve at a party or holiday meal. Work out the bugs first and then you can relax on the big day! This cake can be made a day ahead, but wait to frost it until the day you are serving it. It will save you time and hassle on party day.
Use a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend like this one. And optionally, if it is safe for your friends and family, using almond or hazelnut meal for a portion of the total flour amount (usually 1/2 to 1 cup) will give you more flavor and texture that is a little reminiscent of wheat flour. It is a secret weapon in gluten-free baking!
- 1-1/2 cups (180g) all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour blend
- 1/2 cup (56g) almond or hazelnut meal (or white wheat flour or more AP flour)
- 1/4 tsp xanthan gum, only if using gluten-free flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp kosher or fine sea salt
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamom or nutmeg
- 1 cup granulated cane sugar
- 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 cup organic vegetable oil
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 2 cups white chocolate chips
- 1 lb (8 to 10 medium) carrots, peeled and grated, about 3 cups
- 4 oz mascarpone cheese
- 4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter a 9x13-inch baking pan.
- Make the Cake: In a bowl, combine the flour, almond meal (or other flour), xanthan gum (if using GF flour), baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom. Whisk until completely blended.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, place the sugar, brown sugar, eggs, oil and applesauce. Using the paddle attachment, cream the ingredients together until smooth. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients, beat them in until just combined, with no streaks. Add the white chocolate and carrots, and beat in. Use a spatula to scrape the bowl and stir the ingredients together, being sure there are no dry ingredients hidden under the batter.
- Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for 30 minutes. Spin the baking pan so the back is now facing the front of the oven. Continue baking another 15 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Place the pan on a wire rack and let cool completely.
- Make the Frosting: Using your stand mixer or a hand mixer, beat the mascarpone and cream cheese together until smooth. Slowly add the powdered sugar, beating after each addition, until it has all been incorporated. Add the vanilla and beat in; slowly increase the speed to medium, and beat the frosting until smooth, light and fluffy.
- To Serve: When the cake is completely cool, smooth the frosting over the top. Add any seasonal decorations you like. Cut into squares and serve. Store, covered, at room temperature for a day or two, then if there is any left, store it in the refrigerator for another few days.
- Yield: about 14 servings
- If you do not have an insulated metal 9x13-inch cake pan, set your regular pan on a baking sheet to insulate the bottom. You may need to extend the baking time slightly, so judge doneness by the toothpick test more than timing.
Create a New Tradition Today!
Here are more recipes from The Secret Recipe Club just for you!
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