Saturday, April 12, 2014

Chocolate-Orange Carrot Cake

My family has been a willing tester for all my baking experiments.  As long as the result is edible they seldom complain even if I point out my mistakes; the texture is dry, the whole is thing is too sweet, it isn't quite done, etc.  Previously, there're only my husband and son who get the burden of eating most of the baked goods, but since my parents are around, they've been my victims as well.

As in the case of chocolate cake, the more often I make the happier my testers are.  They always welcome chocolate cake in any form, not unlike this chocolate-orange carrot cake.  I've made this cake before and blogged about it in my old food blog.  I've a plan to resurrect the stories and recipes from the blog but it's been a slow going.  Anyway, this chocolate cake is better the second time around.  The first time I made it, I made the frosting slightly different; possibly because I was just learning to bake and frost cakes.  This time I must say that the frosting tastes so much better, light and fluffy.

The cake itself has won my heart the first time.  It is moist and chocolaty with the addition of chunks of mandarin orange in the layer.  There's coconut in the cake with give some chewy texture which I don't mind, but you can omit it if you want.  I've made several changes from the original recipe though not much.

This whole cake lasted a while but everyone didn't get bored eating it!

Chocolate-Orange Carrot Cake

Serves 8 to 10

For cake:

Nonstick vegetable oil spray

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

4 large eggs

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 1/4 cups sugar

2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

3 cups finely shredded peeled carrots

1 cup (packed) sweetened flaked coconut

1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange peel

1 11-ounce can mandarin oranges, drained, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

For frosting:

2 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

1/3 cup powdered sugar

1/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrated, thawed or Grand Marnier

Additional canned mandarin orange segments, drained, patted very dry

Make the cake:

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray two 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 2-inch high sides with nonstick spray.  Using electric mixer, beat 1 1/2 cups oil and eggs in large bowl until well blended and thick, about 2 minutes.  Add flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt; beat at low speed to blend.  Increase speed; beat 1 minute longer (batter will be very thick).  Stir in carrots, coconut and orange peel, then orange pieces.  Divide batter between prepared pans.  Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.  Cool cakes in pans 10 minutes.  Turn out onto racks; cool completely.

Make the frosting:

Stir chocolate chips in heavy medium saucepan over very low heat until melted and smooth.  Remove from heat and cool to lukewarm.  Spoon 1/3 cup chocolate into small bowl and reserve for decoration.  Beat butter and sugar in medium bowl until fluffy.  Beat in remaining melted chocolate and orange juice concentrate or Grand Marnier.  Place 1 cake layer on platter.  Spread with 2/3 cup frosting.  Top with second layer.  Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake.  Arrange additional orange segments around top edge of cake.  Rewarm 1/3 cup reserved chocolate to pourable consistency if necessary.  Drizzle orange segments with chocolate.  (Can be prepared 1 day ahead.  Cover with cake dome and refrigerate.)

Source:  Bon Appetit, December 1998

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