Sunday, 26 January 2014

Commission me a . . . Carrot Cake!

Wahoo my blog is a year old!!  This is the first post in Sew Lah Tea Dough's second year... Here's to hoping I'm still here writing every week this time in 2015!

This year has seen some of my greatest bakes and makes... but it has also had it's fair share of frustration, late nights and mistakes too!  All in all, I am SUPER happy with how everything has gone, that I'm here still writing every week about something I have made or crafted, I'm learning to take better photos, I'm trying to always think of something I can make better, improve on next time or do a different way.  I love love LOVE to try new recipes, and love a challenge.

This past year, actually the past few months I have had some amazing opportunities to bake for other people.  Being a music teacher, I love the term 'commission'... I know usually it isn't a term used in baking, more so for art or musical compositions but I'm a muso so I'm thinking "Commission me a Cake"!?  What do you think?  A new line for Sew Lah Tea Dough?!

So this past week I was commissioned to make a cake and cupcakes for a 60th birthday party.. (you'll see that soon I promise!)... but then I got a message asking me if I could whip up a Carrot Cake for an office birthday celebration.  Was I just starting my new job?!  Was I working 13 hour days?!  Was I busy enough!?  Well.... yes... But am I crazy?!  YES!  Of course I said yes!  I had a few hours spare, and what better way to spend them than baking.  So, birthday carrot cake baking here I came!

I used a Martha Stewart recipe for my inspiration with this, and also went with a traditional cream cheese frosting.  I'm personally not a huge fan of cream cheese frosting, but I was surprised with how delicious this recipe was!  I'd definitely use it again.

My favourite part of the cake was definitely the marzipan carrots!  I love marzipan, and had a lot of fun creating these little guys!  I left them overnight to dry but then, before frosting the cake (just before delivery!) I also painted them with food colouring.  A mix of food colouring and a splash of vodka (which does evaporate when it dries!) and a paintbrush and there I had orange carrots with green leaves. 

Another recipe for the box, I loved the taste of the carrot cake - using pecans instead of walnuts, and also not too spicy.  It made a perfect amount for a 9-inch sandwich cake, just what I needed for this.  I also got a couple of cupcakes out of it as well - good to be able to taste-test when you can't actually cut a slice of the actual cake!

Ingredients (for the cake):

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon salt
12oz unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup water
1 pound carrots, peeled and grated (about 2 3/4 cups of the grated carrots)
1 cup finely chopped pecans.


1.  Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease two 9-inch round sandwich cake pans.  Line the bottoms with parchment paper, and grease the parchment again. 

2.  Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg.

3.  Beat the butter and sugar together in a mixer, until pale and fluffy. 

4.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

5.  Add the vanilla, water and carrots, and beat well until combined. 


 6.  Reduce the speed of the mixer to low, and add flour mixture, then finely chopped pecans.

7.  Divide the batter evenly between the two pans, and bake until golden brown, and when a toothpick comes out clean ~ around 30 minutes.

8.  Remove the cakes from the oven, and leave to cool in the pans for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack. 

Once my cakes were cooled, I actually left them overnight, stacked with a piece of parchment paper in between them, and in an airtight cake container.  The following evening would be for frosting and decorating!
However, to save time the next day (which is when I would be frosting, decorating and also delivering the cake) I pre-made the frosting and left in the fridge overnight, as well as making the marzipan carrots!
Here I am mid-everything... Carrots sculpted, planning out the sizing...

And then the following evening... I got to painting them!  I had tried colouring the marzipan the previous evening, but didn't really like the colour I got with the colourings, so decided to paint them instead!  It gave a vibrant colour, and I love how it showed up the etching I did on the carrots.


Ingredients (for the cream cheese frosting - it made MORE than enough to fill and cover the 9 inch cake!):

16oz cream cheese, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup unsalted butter
32oz icing sugar


1.  Beat together cream cheese, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy.

2.  Gradually add butter, beating well.

3.  With the mixer speed on low, gradually add the icing sugar, beating well until incorporated.

Like I mentioned, I left the cream cheese in the fridge overnight.  So when I got home from work the next evening, I took the frosting out of the fridge right away... it was still a little cold, but after some beating with a wooden spoon it softened up and was able to be spread - filling the cake first!

... and then covering the top and sides with more frosting!

The birthday girl's colleagues asked for a birthday message to be written on the cake, so after writing this, I changed my mind about the placement of the carrots - instead of all around the edge, I bunched three together in a little cluster. 

Yup, that was three very similar photos in a row!  ... I just couldn't decide which one to use! 
Hopefully they had a great lunchtime office birthday party, and once again - thanks for commissioning me a cake :)  It was a lot of fun to make, and I'm happy to have this recipe for another time!


  1. Woohoo, you are definitely off to a good 2nd year - congratulations and thank you for sharing and linking up with us at #WWDParty!

  2. I absolutely love your blog - you do everything I would love to do, but watch you instead! If you are on Facebook, I'd like you to join a group I've started called "Piano Teacher Canada". We found out about your blog through one of our members. Join us!

  3. That looks great, carrot cake is one of my all time favourites. I love how you made the carrots. Once, years ago when the kids were small we made my husband a carrot cake for fathers day. We tried to colour the marzipan and the kids made the carrots to decorate so they were huge and fairly yellowy still. He walked in and said "why are their parsnips on my cake?" We still tease him about that now! I may get them to try a do-over this year with your method!

  4. This looks yummy! Love those carrots, they turned out great!

    Thanks for linking up to last week's Weekend Wind-Down party! Come back tomorrow night at 6pm to see if you've been featured and link up some new posts! =)

  5. Thanks for linking up at Sweet and Savoury Sunday, I'm the new co-host and would love for you to link up this weekend. I've chosen your carrot cake as one of favourites, stop by to grab and button :) I love carrot cake it's a weakeness of mine, I can never stop at one slice! Laura@baking in pyjamas

  6. It sounds delicious! Love the little Marzipan carrots. Congratulations on your first year of blogging, and I wish you many more. Thank you for sharing it at to What We Accomplished Wednesdays. Have a great week! ~Deborah

  7. I'm drooling over my keyboard now! Turned out great. Thank you for the tutorial!

  8. I love carrot cake - always makes me feel like I am not really cheating as it is actually out of veg ;)
    Thanks for sharing your tutorial on Tutorial Thursdays Linky Party this month.
    Marigolds' Loft


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