I am not a huge dessert person. Don’t get me wrong, I love sweets just as much as the next person, but I don’t go wild over the same KIND of sweet things most people crave. No chocolate mousse, crème brulée, tiramisu or molten chocolate cake for me. Nope. It’s fruit pies and nut tarts that make me break my diet. I was the weird kid who begged for a Birthday PIE when my mother wanted to make a fancy cake in the shape of a doll. But the two desserts I really can’t resist are Pecan Pie and Carrot Cake. Not just any pecan pie…I must have mostly pecans not mostly goo (but I must have some goo!). And the carrot cake…well nothing compares with the carrot cake from the now defunct Frog Commissary by Stephen Poses. For those of you who don’t know about Steve Poses, he was the chef that in 1973 changed Philadelphia dining from a 3-restaurant town to a dining mecca. And his is the carrot cake I bake. Every time I serve it, people ask for the recipe. It’s involved, but SOOOO worth it…and it freezes nicely, thank you. Begin making it at least the day before you want to serve it-the components are easily made several days in advance.
So for those who attended the Dacor Launch and asked for the recipe, I give you The Commissary Carrot Cake. Bakers, roll up your sleeves. And…Go!
1 ½ C. sugar
¼ C. flour
¾ tsp. salt
1 ½ C. heavy cream (whipping cream)
¾ C. unsalted butter
1 ¼ C. chopped pecans
2 tsp. vanilla extract
The Carrot Cake
1 ¼ C. corn oil
2 C. sugar
2 C. flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
4 large eggs
4 C. grated carrots (about 1 lb.) washed and peeled
1 C. chopped pecans
1 C. raisins
8 oz. unsalted butter (softened-room temperature)
8 oz. cream cheese (softened-room temperature)
16 oz. confectionary (powdered) sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 oz. sweetened shredded coconut, lightly toasted
1. In a heavy saucepan, stir together well the sugar, flour and salt.
2. Stir in the cream
3. Add the butter
4. Cook over low heat until the butter has melted and let simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has turned a golden-brown color. The mixture should cook at a low simmer, bubbling very gently.
5. Let the mixture cool to lukewarm and stir in the nuts and vanilla.
6. Cool completely and refrigerate. If you make this a day or two ahead, the filling will be stiff. Bring to room temperature before using or carefully warm in the microwave to spreadable consistency.
The Carrot Cake
1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
2. Grease and flour a 10” tube pan.
3. In a large bowl whisk together the oil and sugar.
4. Sift the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt together.
5. Add ½ of this dry mixture to the oil/sugar mixture and blend.
6. Then add the rest of the flour mixture alternately with each egg, so you are adding an egg, then ¼ of the remaining flour mixture.
7. Stir very well. (I use a mixer for all of this, but you can do it quite well by hand, it will just take a bit longer).
8. Add the carrots, raisins and pecans. The batter will be very thick.
9. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.
10. Bake for about 70 minutes.
11. Cool completely on a wire rack in the pan.
1. Cream the butter well.
2. Add the cream cheese and beat hard until well combined. NOTE: these ingredients MUST be a room temperature or you will be crazed trying to get this combined.
3. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat again until you have a fluffy frosting.
4. If too soft, chill a bit;if making ahead of time, refrigerate and bring to a spreadable temperature before using.
1. Have the coconut toasted, the filling and frosting at a spreadable consistency.
2. Turn the cake out of the pan and cut it horizontally into 3 layers with a long serrated knife.
3. Spread the filling over the bottom layer, put the second layer on and spread more filling on that layer.
4. Top with the top layer.
5. Ice the sides and top with the frosting, reserving about ½ C. to color with orange and green food coloring (about 1/3 of the reserved frosting for the green color and 2/3 for the orange color) for the carrot decoration, if desired.
6. Pat the toasted coconut on the sides.
7. Pipe carrots and leaves around the top of the cake.
8. Refrigerate, but bring to room temperature to serve.
Steve Poses, we are most grateful.