Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Notes on Thanksgiving 2009 (photo-less)

I haven't written about my Thanksgiving yet. How could that be?

It might be because I was so busy partying it up that I forgot to take any pictures. Not a single one. Not a photo of all the family gathered 'round my sister-in-law's home -- all 30 or so of us. Not a single photo of the kids (nearly all 13 of them) beating up cousin Jay with plastic light sabres (my nephew R seems to have an unlimited collection of them). Not a single photo of the beautiful young ladies (who are the daughters of the cousins) who could have stepped out of the pages of a fashion magazine -- goodness were they pretty! And not one single photo of the a-MAY-zing dessert buffet set up after the meal. I kid you not. Let me say this again: Dessert. Buffet. There were pies and cakes and cookies and brownies and ice cream. Store bought fancy stuff and luscious homemade ones. (Not-so) Little Michael M made fudge that was to die for. He's 12 (I think). He was pretty noncommittal about it. I say, keep up those fudge making skills, my friend and you will have the ladies flocking when you've grown and begin to woo.

I made a carrot cake based on this recipe. And I can't believe I didn't take any photos of it! I made a few changes like using only half the recommended amount of vegetable oil and subbing the rest with applesauce (didn't miss it, the cake was moist and fabbo). I prefer golden raisins to regular SunMaids and whenever I bake with raisins, I like to soak them in rum first. It's a habit I picked up from when I was an exchange student in France. The recipe called for 1/2 cup of raisins, so I put that in a small saucepan and fill with rum just to cover the raisins. Put it on the stove and let it simmer until the raisins soak up all the rum.

The golden raisins I picked up from the market were huge. Really they looked like dried grapes instead of what you'd expect when you think raisins. That sounds weird, I know because raisins are dried grapes, but I think you get what I mean.  Since they were so big and plumped from their rum hot tub, I chopped them up before adding them to the batter. And for the icing, I only used 2 1/2 cups of the powdered sugar (instead of the recommended 4 cups) and it was plenty sweet for me. Oh and I used one bar of neufchatel and one bar of regular cream cheese to help keep the fat content down a bit. I think it might have affected the consistency of the frosting as some reviewers claimed. But after I was done frosting and decorating the cake, I put it in the fridge for about an hour and it seemed to work out fine.

Another change from the recipe that I made was to toast the pecans as some of the reviewers suggested and also for decoration I added toasted chopped pecans to the sides. I would have loved to pipe a little carrot or something to decorate the top with but I didn't have the tools for something like that. Next time.

The next time I make this cake (oh please! when can I make it again??) I'd make a few changes:
  • I think 1/2 cup of raisins was a bit much so I'd go down to just 1/4 cup. 
  • I grated the carrots by hand on the small holes of a grater and 3 cups might have been a bit much. Maybe go down half a cup?
  • If I do the same kind of decoration (which I think is a good idea because the cake is prettier with the chopped nuts on the side) I won't add the pecans to the batter because it was a bit much. I might sprinkle some on the frosting that goes in between the layers. With that and the nuts on the sides of the cake, I think the nuts to cake ratio would work better.

This cake recipe was awesome. Hit the spot since I'd been craving a carrot cake for about a month. But I've cut back on the baking since I'm trying to watch my pregnancy weight. I did let myself cut loose a little for the holidays though.

Also, one last random note: The cake batter looks... well, sort of pukey. But don't let that turn you off. When it comes out of the oven it looks awesome, smells great and tastes fantastic!

I think I need to bake this cake again soon if for no other reason than that I have this post with my notes and no photo to go with it. And that's just something I can't have happen, now. Can I?

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