There were two birthday celebrations for a certain little pastry's 3rd birthday (3rd birthday!!!! *head spins*), one on the day itself, the other for the party a week and a half later. Both were delicious freaking cakes, both sort of essential recipes, so I thought I'd share the eevil. Both are from allrecipes.com, and I substituted yoghurt for almost all the oil in both and they came out great.
(Both cakes poorly and inadequately photographed due to frazzledom and forgetfulness. Me, forgetting to halt everything to take pictures? Weird.)
First, basic chocolate cake, a super easy (one bowl), relatively non-eevil (frosting notwithstanding) option that was de-freaking-licious. This is now my go-to chocolate cake.
(The little mushrooms! Got the candles at that adorable little cupcake shop on Primrose Hill in London; the others were recently brought back to me from Belgium by my darling best friend.)
I used lowfat strawberry yoghurt instead of oil (a splash of oil to top off the measuring cup) and you'd never have known it. Trying to recall where I got the frosting recipe, because it was amazingly good and perfect consistency. Thinking, thinking. It's after midnight. This will have to wait.
Second, carrot cake. Oh lordy this was so good, and also relatively un-eevil. I'd never made carrot cake before, but oh, I will again. And probably pretty soon. Oh, bad photo, you make me sad. This cake was so cute I kept opening the refrigerator to look at it. Those meringues are from Trader Joe's.
Before I decided to try this cake I read every single review, paying careful attention to those who did not like the cake very much. Though the overwhelming majority, of which I am now a part, liked this cake very much I understand that you learn a lot more about something by learning what people did not like about it. So, after having made the cake I have a few suggestions for those who didn’t like the cake. Most of the complaints where that the cake was too heavy or that it was too moist or “pudding like” A solution to this might be to strain the carrots and pineapple more before adding them in to the cake batter. I know the recipe doesn’t specify but I strained the carrots and the pineapple until they where almost dry and added about 2 – 3 tablespoons of the strained liquid back in. I also hydrated the raisins a bit by letting them sit in a cup of warm water while the carrots sat in the brown sugar. Also I made 3 - 8” rounds instead of the recommended 2 - 10” rounds. This will shorten the bake time to about 30 -45 mins. and may also help solve any underdone cake problems… I thought this cake was very good and well worth the effort. Everyone I have served this to has loved this and I certainly plan on making it again.
2009 edit: Use cheesecloth to strain the carrots! Wrap 1/3 the carrots in a cheesecloth pouch, twist it shut and squeeze. I've finally figured out how to make this moist without sogginess. My family loves carrot cake so I’ve made this recipe many times since I first found it. First, do what you can the night before and store ingredients in ziplock bags/tupperware. Grate the carrots, strain the pineapple, sift the dry ingredients, etc. The only things I added: 1/4 tsp each of nutmeg, allspice, ginger, and cloves, added 1.5x the vanilla and cinnamon, ½ tsp baking POWDER, and the zest of one lemon. I nuked the raisins in equal parts of the drained pineapple juices and rum. The raisins absorbed most of the liquids and were really plump and delicious. Save a few tablespoons to add to the cake. I didn’t want to risk a dry cake so I compromised. I drained the carrots BEFORE I added the brown sugar. After the carrots sit for an hour, there will still be some liquid; add all of it. My cake ended up moist, flavorful, and TALL. Don't over-mix or let your cake sit too long. Baking soda reacts immediately so if you over-mix or leave it around, the gas will escape and your cake will be flat. Use the good pans. Line the bottom of your layer pans with wax paper or parchment paper. Better safe than sorry! To make a bundt, bake at 325 for 75-90 minutes. Use a cream cheese glaze: beat 4oz cream cheese with 2tsp vanilla and 2c powdered sugar. And 1-2tbsp milk/rum to get spreading consistency.
Also, I like tall cakes, so I used three 9-in pans for three thinner layers (baked about 32 minutes), which provided more area for frosting, which is totally the best part of carrot cake, right? For frosting, I used this recipe, but increased it to 3 packages (lowfat) crm chs, 3/4 cup of butter, 3 cups sugar, healthy splash of vanilla:
Such. A good. Cake.
That'll be it for cakes for a while.
But as for pie, you know, every day around here is Pie day :-)