Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Over the Top Carrot Cake

Every once and a while, you have to make something a little extra special. Any Milk bar recipe qualifies as just that, over the top, but it requires a little preparation. 

Okay, a lot of preparation. This recipe asks you to make a cake, graham cracker crust, frosting, liquid cheesecake and crumb. I would recommend making this recipe over the course of two days. Or one long snow day. That's what I did!

While it took several hours to complete this cake, the end result is worth the effort. The cake is soft and tender. The frosting is rich with graham cracker and butter. My only complaint? The original recipe is a bit too salty, which is a common issue with Milk bar recipes. The recipe below has the salt content tweaked a little, but is otherwise true to the original.

Be sure to share this little cake with friends and family, there is no way you will be able to (or should) eat the entire thing on your own. A small slice will do you, don't let your eyes be bigger than your appetite!

Dig in!

Two Years Ago: That Chicken Lettuce Cups
Three Years Ago: Asparagus Lasagna
Four Years Ago: Apple Marshmallows & Apple-Cinnamon Krispy Treats

Milk Bar Carrot Cake
From Milk

For the Carrot Cake

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup tightly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 1/2 cups shredded carrots

Preheat oven to 350 °F. Line a quarter sheet pan with parchment paper. Coat with cooking spray.

Cream together butter and sugars on high for about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat in the eggs, one at a time. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again.

Turn the mixer on low, stream in grapeseed oil. Turn mixer up to medium-high and beat for 5 minutes, until batter is white and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again.

In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and kosher salt.  Add the dry ingredients all at once to the mixer, turn on mixer to low and beat for 1 minute. Remove bowl from the mixer and add carrots. Stir in carrots by hand.

Pour cake batter into the pan and spread out in an even layer with an offset spatula. Bake cake for 25 minutes, until golden brown and bounces back when gently pressed. Take cake out of the oven and let cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool completely on the wire rack.

If you are making this recipe over the course of two days, wrap the cake up in plastic wrap and pop in the fridge until you're ready to assemble everything.

For the Liquid Cheesecake

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons milk
1 egg

Preheat oven to 300 °F. Line a loaf pan with heavy duty plastic wrap.

Beat together cream cheese and sugar. Add cornstarch and kosher salt, beat until combined. Scrape down sides of the bowl. Slowly stream in milk and mix until smooth. Add egg and mix on medium speed for 4 minutes. Pour into the prepared pan.

Bake for about 15-25 minutes, until edges are set, but the overall pan is still jiggly.  Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Transfer to a bowl.

For the Milk Crumb

1/4 cup milk powder
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 tablespoons milk powder
1 1/2 ounces white chocolate, melted

Preheat oven to 250 °F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.

Whisk together milk powder, flour, cornstarch, sugar and kosher salt. Add butter and stir until the dry ingredients are coated. Spread in an even layer on the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.

Pour crumbs into a bowl and add the remaining 2 tablespoons milk powder, stir. Add melted white chocolate and stir to coat crumbs. Stir crumbs every 5 minutes, to break up any large crumbs, until the chocolate is set.

For the Graham Frosting

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup milk powder
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup heavy cream

1/3 cup milk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon tightly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1.8 teaspoon kosher salt

Whir together dry ingredients in your food processor (or whisk in a bowl). In another bowl, whisk together butter and heavy cream. Pour liquid ingredients into the dry and pulse (or stir) until it forms an even crumb. Add milk and pulse until smooth (alternatively, you can toss everything in a blender to mix).

Beat butter, sugars, cinnamon and salt together on medium-high until smooth and fluffy. Add the graham cracker mixture and beat on high for 2-3 minutes. The frosting should be a pale tan color.

Now that you have all of the pieces of the puzzle, it's time to put together the cake! You'll need the following tools...

6-inch cake ring
2 cake collars
Ice cream scoop (for adding frosting)
Pastry brush

1/4 cup milk

You can watch the little gif to see how the cake comes together!

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat. Place the cake ring in the center and line with one of the cake collars. Remove the parchment paper from the carrot cake. Stamp out two full circles of cake and two half circles.

Place the two half circles of cake in the bottom of the cake ring, fill in the missing portion with leftover bits of cake. Brush some milk on the cake. Top with half of the liquid cheesecake, even out with the back of a spoon. Top with 1/3 of the milk crumb, press into the cheesecake with the back of your hand. Add 2 scoops of the frosting and spread out with a spoon.

Slip second cake collar between the cake ring and the first cake collar.

Add another cake round. Brush on some milk, follow with remaining liquid cheesecake, another 1/3 of the milk crumbs, another 2 scoops of the frosting. Top with remaining cake round and last bit of frosting and milk crumbs. Pop the entire cake in the freezer for at least 4 hours. When you are ready to serve, take the cake out of the freezer 1 hour early, remove the cake ring and peel off the cake collars. Slice a little piece and enjoy!

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