Sunday, April 29, 2012

Carrot Cake Pancake Cake

Not pictured: Robin's hand quickly moving away from supporting the tower. Also, this kind of reminds me of Jabba the Hut or at least his cousin Pizza.
If there's one thing I've learned in baking, it's that redundancy makes everything far more whimsical. As such, this desperately in need of a Thesaurus cake was already off to an auspicious start (really, it was off to a magnificent start the second it was a cake made up of a copious amount of pancakes). Breakfast and dessert come thundering together for this thrilling edition of the Robin Farewell Baking Tour 2012 in a dish that you can pretend is healthy since it involves carrots (thus negating the cake and cream cheese aspects).

Carrot Cake Pancake Cake
Adapted from the Joy the Baker Cookbook
Servings: 1 large cake consisting of about 6 pancakes
Time: 45 minutes

1 cup all-purpose flour
1tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
Pinch of ground ginger
2 tbsp raisins
1 egg
2 tbsp packed brown sugar
1 cup buttermilk
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup peeled and finely grated carrots

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 to 3 tbsp milk
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Cinnamon to taste

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 F to keep the pancakes warm after making them.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and raisins together in a large bowl.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the egg, brown sugar, buttermilk and vanilla extract together until well incorporated then stir in the carrots.
  4. Pour the wet ingrendients into the dry ingredients and stir until just mixed. Let sit for 5 minutes and watch the fun bubbles forming.
  5. Make the cream cheese frosting while you wait by whisking the cream cheese until no lumps remain then mixing in the powdered sugar, milk, vanilla and cinnamon. Place in the fridge to keep cool.
  6. Get a frying pan or griddle warmed up over medium heat then melt butter to grease the pan. 
  7. Pour about 2-3 tbsp worth of batter into the pan and cook until both sides are golden flipping once (or attempting to flip. see the crime scene photos that follow). Each side will take between 1-2 minutes. Place each pancake in the oven on an oven safe plate to keep warm while making the rest.
  8. Stack the pancakes together with layers of cream cheese and quickly get a picture before the melting cream cheese causes the ill-fated tower's imminent demise.
We learned an important lesson: the plate you just took out of the oven is super hot as well!
There may not be anything in the world that can beat fresh hot pancakes, and these carrot filled cakey disks delivered. They had a fantastic bounce and the carrot, raisins, cinnamon and ginger really came together to simulate that carrot cake experience in easy to enjoy breakfast form. The actual recipe called for 2 cups of carrots, but we ran out of carrots to grate leading to it being halved. This was a nice amount of carroty goodness, and I think the full 2 cups would be overkill (but 1 1/2 might be just right for my next try).
Take that syrup!
The cream cheese frosting differed from my from previous encounters with it in various forms of cupcakery in that it didn't have butter and had far less powdered sugar. The result was a less sweet cream cheese with a thinner, more spreadable texture. This slightly less rich version served to enhance rather than overpower the pancakes and was an excellent (albeit melty) addition. Together, the two elevated sweet breakfasts/brunches to new heights with a wonderful recreation of a favorite dessert. Even though the pancake tower would have been condemned by the housing commission, the flavors more than made up for its wobbly aesthetic.
Shockingly, the cake became far more structurally sound once we cut into it for some strange bizarro jenga.
CSI: Kitchen Homicide Division

Nearly a year after taking the criminalist entrance exam, the LAPD finally contacted me about interviewing for a position. Having now decided to devote my life to baking and science instead of looking at dead bodies and saying witty things while whipping off my sunglasses, I declined and decided to focus my talents honed through years of watching Law and Order and Bones on solving kitchen mysteries (pilot script in the works).

In the culinary blogging system, the food is represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the amateur chefs who investigate recipes and the people whose kitchens they make a mess of. These are their stories.

Robin's first attempt at flipping a pancake led to quite the batter splatter. ::Whips off shades:: Now that's what I call being flattened like a pancake.
Not to be outdone, I too made a splash with my flipping skills.
This is what happens when you don't get enough air and the pancake folds in on itself as it falls. ::Whips off shades:: Looks like someone was suffering from a bad case of crepe envy.

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