Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Coconut Carrot Cake

I've dreaded writing about this cake. The cake wasn't a failure, it was just a disappointment. I think perhaps I had my expectations too high. I found this recipe for carrot coconut cake from Simply Scratch. Everything on there always looks so wonderful. I'm not sure if the end result of the cake was because of something I did (Or didn't do), or if that was the way the cake was supposed to turn out.

I've made Carrot cakes exactly two times before. See, Carrot cake is Mrblocko's favorite kind of cake. He usually asks for it for his birthday. I don't always make it for him because, the past 2 times have resulted in disaster.

My first attempt at Carrot cake was 8 or 9 years ago. Mrblocko and I were still newlyweds and I had gotten it into my head that I was going to make him a cake from scratch. Never mind that my culinary skills were not up to par for such an endeavor. I foolishly decided to grate the carrots by hand. To this day, I have no idea why. I had a food processor with a shredding blade. The cake took forever to prepare, and I wound up shredding part of my knuckle into the batter. I can't even remember how the cake tasted. I do remember not wanting to eat any of it because I spent so much time working on it, I just didn't want to look at it anymore.

I vowed never to make a carrot cake again.

Fast forward about 5 years...Blockette was about 2 years old. We were going through a very rough financial patch and money was beyond tight. Mrblocko had lost his job just a few days after Christmas and Mrblocko's birthday was only a few weeks after that. (See I told you I was
dreading writing about this cake. I made it all the way back in JANUARY!) I knew that I couldn't get Mrblocko the birthday present he deserved, so I thought that at least I could make him his favorite cake. I wasn't brave enough to tempt fate and make a cake from scratch. I thought I'd get myself a box mix, what could possibly go wrong with that?

All the stars seemed to be in alignment, the cake mix and frosting were on sale for mega cheap. I baked the cake and set it out to cool. I assembled and lovingly frosted the cake and set it on the counter so the frosting could set. Not 5 minutes later I hear Mrblocko walk into the kitchen and call out, "Honey, what happened to the cake?!"

Yes. What did happen to the cake? I'll tell you. Our cat Boo happened to the cake. Our cat who only likes to eat cat food and carpet fuzz licked half the cream cheese frosting off of the cake. I don't know which I was more upset over, Mrblocko's cake being ruined or the possibility of our cat being seriously ill.

Luckily Boo survived with no symptoms worse than a bad tummy ache and a nasty case of diarrhea. (Yeah I just wrote diarrhea on a food blog. ew.) Since the cake was just for Mrblocko and myself, we made the decision to spread the remaining frosting over the rest of the cake. Neither of us minded a little cat spit. The cake tasted fine except for the fact that it needed more frosting.

I vowed to never make a carrot cake again. I was jinxed. Jinxed I tells ya.

So why did I decide to break my promise (again) and make Mrblocko a Carrot cake for his birthday this year? Well, I felt that my kitchen skills had improved, we now own a cake dome for the specific purpose of preventing future frosting licking incidents, and that carrot cake recipe on Simply Scratch looked and sounded so good.

I knew the cake would be a lot of work, but it would be a labor of love. So I mixed and chopped and baked and frosted and presented the whole thing to my sweet darling husband. I waited for the lavish praise he was going to heap on me for my masterpiece of a creation.

He took the first bite. Then another.


His eyes didn't roll back in his head or nuthin!!!

With tears in my eyes (OK and rolling down my face, I'm a big cry baby) I asked him what was wrong. Did the cake not taste good? He assured me it did, but it was just not what he was expecting. Well, what was he expecting?

At this point I had not taken a bite of my own work. I get weird about my cooking and like someone else to taste it first. It's dumb but one of my many wonky quirks.

So I took a bite. It was just OK. The cake was very moist but it was very very dense. I get that carrot cake, especially one with nuts and pineapple in it can get a bit on the heavy side, but this was more compacted than I expected. You can sort of tell by the picture below. See how thin the layers are?

The cake did taste OK. It just wasn't what either of us anticipated. I won't be making this carrot cake recipe again, but I am not going to boycott carrot cakes completely. At this stage in my cooking adventures I see this disappointment not as a reaffirmation of a jinx, but as a challenge.

I'm now on the hunt for Mrblocko's perfect carrot cake! I have found a few and now I just need the time and an occasion to prepare them. Of course Mrblocko says a day that ends in "y" is a cause for celebration, but we all know he just wants to be lavished with mountains of carrot cake. Even I, who doesn't fancy carrot cake nearly as much as my husband and cat do, think mediocre carrot cake is still pretty tasty.

Carrot Coconut Cake from Simply Scratch
2 cups Unbleached All Purpose Flour
2-1/2 teaspoons of Baking Powder
2 tsp. ground Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened
1-1/2 cups Sugar
3 whole Eggs
1/2 cup Whole Milk
2 cups grated Carrots
1 cup flaked Coconut
1 cup (8 oz.) fresh Pineapple, crushed
1 recipe for Cream Cheese Frosting
Optional: 1/2 cup chopped Walnuts

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Butter and line two 9 inch cake pans with wax or parchment paper. Mix flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg until well blended; set aside. Add a cup of fresh pineapple to a mini food processor with any juices and puree until it measures 1 cup, adding more if needed. Pineapple should be slightly chunky and resemble "canned" crushed pineapple. Set aside.
Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing until well blended. Add flour mixture alternately with milk, beating until well blended after each addition. Add carrots, coconut, and pineapple {walnuts too if you're using them}; mix well. Pour evenly into 2 greased 9-inch round cake pans.

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely on wire racks. Place 1 of the cake layers on serving plate upside down, remove wax paper and spread with Cream Cheese Frosting. Cover with remaining cake layer {upside down} remove wax paper again and spread top and side of cake with remaining frosting. Cut a huge piece for yourself and enjoy! Like any cream cheese frosted goodie, make sure you store this cake in refrigerator.


  1. Is carrot cake considered a vegetable? ;)

  2. ps Betty Crocker carrot cake mix makes 20 cupcakes as opposed to pilsbury which makes 18. I am especially happy about this as I needed 20 cupcakes for my step dad's 85th birthday party! WooHoo! Now onto the Chocolate cupckaes! Yeah, I know I used a mix.....

    pss Betty Crocker also has the school box tops, always a plus!

  3. yes. Carrot cake counts as a veggie.

    That's awesome that you got 20 cupcakes. I like Betty's carrot cake mix better than Duncan Hines. Ok so I haven't actually tried the Duncan Hines mix. It's got raisins in it and I don't like me some raisins in my cake. Ick. Oatmeal cookies? Yes. Empanadas? Yes. Bastilla? Yes. Mulligatawny Stew? Yes. Carrot Cake? No way Jose!

  4. I made this recipe as well and mine was DENSE too...very moist but WAY too dense. Followed the recipe to a tee..not sure what went wrong. The only thing I can think is maybe there was too much juice in the pineapple and it made it way too dense.

  5. Hmm weird. I don't remember my pineapple being particularly juicy though. Maybe there wasn't enough oil/butter in the recipe? I know some cake recipes have a cup of of oil.

    I'm no food scientist so I really have no idea how these things work. It is reassuring to hear that someone else had the same issue I did!

    Thanks for stopping by!


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