Speckled Egg Cake (Carrot Cake reloaded)

The things I learnt from baking this cake!

Taste
Summer’s carrot cake recipe is so delicious! Why did I wait two years before baking it again? Here a photo of the first time I baked this cake.

Oven thermometer
Good thing to have. But just letting it lie around in your oven isn’t going to get the job done. You actually have to use it. And I did, when I first got it. Really. Quite fanatically actually. No cake baking without checking what the thermometer had to say about it. And then I got lazy and thought I knew how my oven baked. Obviously not. Because just like me it has aged and was baking between 10-15°C cooler than the dial showed. Okay for some cakes maybe, but not for this one.

Be creative
An underbaked cake doesn’t have to be the end. Okay, if this had been a chocolate mud then this trick probably wouldn’t have worked but in this case it did.

I had baked the first two layers together as I only have two 20 cm cake tins. This was lucky for the third layer as I had time to find out what had happened – the dreading sinking whilst the cakes cooled down – and adjust the oven temperature. Before you ask, yes I did check the cakes with a toothpick but as this cake is very moist even when fully baked I thought that this was just part of its moist texture. Or maybe I need new glasses?

I cut out the underbaked cake centres and baked them for another 10 mins. Whilst assembling the cake I stuck the centres back into place with some frosting and levelled them up to the height of the entire cake layer with extra frosting.

Cakes with surprise centres are quite popular at the moment so this could have been an option too. And as a last resort cake pops are always possible. Hey, thinking about it now that would have looked very cute: little speckled egg shaped cake pops. Next time.

Top – as it should be / Middle – Oops! / Bottom – rebaked centres. Photo is a bit too dark, no, they are not vegetable patties 😉

There’s more than one way of doing things
Making cream cheese frosting the other way around works better for me. After the runny mess with my banana cake I wasn’t taking any risks this time. Especially after the issue with my oven’s temperature. I had read through all kinds of recipes again which all called for whipping the butter and the cream cheese together first and then adding the icing. But there was a call for using cream cheese in blocks and not tubs as these contain more water. And I was using cream cheese from a tub. Actually it was a vegan cream cheese from a German brand called “Simply Vegan”. It’s made from almonds and is super tasty. So I made a simple buttercream with 250 g margarine, 500 g icing sugar and 1 tsp vanilla extract. I drained off the cream cheese as it did contain a little liquid, softened it in a bowl and folded it underneath the butter cream. Perfect.

Vodka always works
The cake design I choose from The Cake Blog called for cocoa powder mixed with vanilla extract for the chocolate paint to flick at the cake. As I didn’t want to use my expensive vanilla extract – us hobby bakers don’t have these huge bottles like the pros do – I used vodka instead and it worked perfectly. Just like when painting on cakes with food colouring diluted with vodka it evaporated so no issues.

The chocolate baskets are really easy to make and can be made days in advance. Melt some chocolate (I used 100 g) and spoon into a small piping bag. Then simply pipe it in a crisscross pattern over some small ice cubes. The chocolate will set after a few seconds and you can carefully lift off the baskets.

Have fun baking this cake!

Credits
“Speckled egg cake” originally from The Cake Blog
Recipe for carrot cake from Summer at CakePaperParty
Idea for chocolate baskets Ann Reardon, How To Cook That