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Chocolate Pound Cake and Carrot Cake

My grandmother and my mother were bakers.  They enjoyed baking cakes for Christmas.  I know it was their way of showing their love for their family.  I have continued that tradition in our family and I have to say my daughters favorite is this chocolate pound cake I am sharing with you today.  It is always something she looks forward to when she visits for Christmas. And yes I made one this year and it is sitting in my kitchen now waiting for me to apply the frosting.

If you are a beginner cook, you may think this is complicated but the good part is you don’t have to worry about stacking layers. The recipe makes a generous amount of frosting.  The frosting is easy to make and you can even out any imperfections of the cake with the frosting.

Chocolate Pound Cake

1/2 pound butter

1 stick margarine

2 and 3/4 cups sugar

5 eggs

3 cups plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

5 tablespoons cocoa

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream butter, margarine and sugar.  Add eggs one at a time and beat well.

Sift remaining dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, cocoa and salt) three times.

Add vanilla to the milk.

Add sifted dry ingredients and milk to creamed batter, alternating drya nd liquid ingredients.  Begin and end with dry ingredients.

Pour  mixture into a greased and floured 10 inch tube pan and bake in a 325 degree oven for one and one half hours or until the cake is done.  ( Do Not Overbake)

Cool and Frost.

Icing

6 tablespoons butter or margarine

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 box or one pound of confectioners sugar

5 tablespoons cocoa

2 teaspoons vanilla

6 tablespoons milk

Cream butter and salt.  Add confectioners’ sugar and cocoa.  Add vanilla and enough milk (gradually add the milk until it is the right consistency) After completely blended and smooth, frost cooled cake.

I usually make two cakes for Christmas and this year I started thinking about carrot cake.  It is one of my favorites and of course Ina Garten is one of my favorites too.  I was browsing through her cookbook, Foolproof,  and found her recipe for carrot cake.  I have never been disappointed with any of her recipes and so I thought this one was a great choice.

Ina’s Carrot Cake

Ingredients
2 cups sugar
1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 pound carrots, grated (see Cook’s Note)
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts
Ginger Mascarpone Frosting, recipe follows
Crystallized ginger (not in syrup), chopped, for garnish
Ginger Mascarpone Frosting:
12 ounces Italian mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup minced crystallized ginger (not in syrup)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease 2 (9-by-2-inch) round cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper, and grease and flour the pans.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar, oil, and eggs on medium-high speed for 2 minutes, until light yellow and thickened. Stir in the vanilla. In another bowl, sift together the 2 cups of flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ones.
In a medium bowl, toss the carrots, raisins, walnuts, and the 1 tablespoon of flour. Stir into the batter with a rubber spatula. Divide the batter between the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 10 minutes, lower the heat to 350 degrees F, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 15 minutes, turn out onto a baking rack, and cool completely.
Place one cake on a flat serving plate, rounded-side down. Spread half the frosting on the top (not the sides). Place the second cake on top of the first cake, rounded-side up. Frost just the top of the second cake. Sprinkle with the ginger and serve at room temperature.

Ginger Mascarpone Frosting:
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the mascarpone, cream cheese, confectioners sugar, cream, and vanilla together for about 1 minute, until light and fluffy. Add the crystallized ginger and salt and beat for 30 seconds more. Yield: frosts one 9-inch cake
Grate the carrots by hand on a box grater; if you grate them in a food processor, the carrots will be too wet and the cake might fall.

I made the cake this morning and it was an easy recipe to follow.  I did not like chopping and peeling the carrots but that is just part of the process.  I will frost the cake this afternoon and my house smells wonderful from the aroma of the cake. I am really looking forward to using the mascarpone and crystallized ginger in the frosting.  I think that will make this cake extra special.

Well, I think it is time to end this post and let the frosting begin.  I hope these cakes will inspire you to start a family tradition of baking in your home too.

Merry Christmas to you and I hope it is a very special day for you and your loved ones.

 

 

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