Thursday, July 10, 2008

Hole in One Cake!

Happy Father's Day, dad!

My dad has been an amazing athlete all his life. In high school, he taught himself to racewalk by reading a book, and set many state records within just a year or 2 and competed on the national level. He also played hockey, field hockey, ran cross country, ran marathons, and trained for the Olympics. Unfortunately, he suffered knee injuries that prevented him from competing in the Olympic games, so he shifted focus and became a cyclist in his 30s. Now that he's getting, er, older, he's taken up golf. Like the talented athlete he is, it hasn't taken him long at all to become quite good at it!

This year, he made his first EVER hole in one just a couple weeks before father's day. To celebrate, I decided to make him a Hole in One cake. I know, I know -- after all the cussing involved in the Old Spice cake, I said I was going to stick to cupcakes for a while, but this one promised to be much simpler - no carving involved.

The plan was to make a 2 layer square cake, decorated to look like a putting green with a round hole in the top layer and a white chocolate golf ball in the hole. My challenge this time (remember, I promised that each new post would involve me trying something new!) was to bake him a luscious carrot cake from SCRATCH!

I have a friend I work with who studied at the CIA and makes the most delicious cakes I have ever tasted. I decided to give her time-honored recipe a try, with -of course- a few tweaks of my own, cuz that's how I roll. This recipe is originally supposed to make 3 layers, but I did 2 big fluffy ones instead.

CaraCakes' Carrot Cake - say that 10 times fast!

4 eggs, well beaten
1c. packed brown sugar
1c. white sugar
1.5c. vegetable oil
1c. white flour
1c. wheat flour (always use King Arthur!)
2t. baking soda
2t. baking powder
1/2t. salt
2t. cinnamon
1.5t. nutmeg
4c. shredded carrots
1c. finely chopped and toasted walnuts
1c. finely chopped and toasted pecans
80z. can crushed pineapple, drained
1c. golden raisins

Preheat oven to 325. Grease and flour 2 8" square cake pans. Beat eggs in a large bowl. Add sugar and beat until fluffy. Add oil and mix well. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then add slowly into wet ingredients and mix until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Divide batter into pans and bake for 45-50 minutes until a knife inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Here are some pics from the mixing and baking process:

The baked cake is moist and dense with all the fruits and veggies. It is such a gorgeous cake to look at, and the smell is divine! I used cream cheese frosting for the middle layer, and buttercream for the sides and top. Before I frosted the top, though, I used a round cookie cutter to cut out the hole for my golf ball...

And while the crumb coat set, I turned my attention to the decorations. I had a mold for the white chocolate golf balls that also had golf tees, but the tees were wimpy wimpy and kept breaking. So I decided to make some out of fondant instead:

I also used a brand new ingredient this time around: choco-pan. My same culinary friend just finished up a wedding cake where she used choco-pan to cover the cake instead of fondant, and she dropped me off a couple pounds to play with. Choco-pan rolls and colors like fondant, but it tastes much better - like white chocolate! The only thing I don't like about choco-pan is that it never gets really hard like fondant, so for decorations you still need to use fondant, gumpaste or modeling chocolate. But the green below is made of choco-pan. 2 new things in one post! How's that for ya?

After cooling the cake in the fridge, I rolled out a small piece of white fondant to use as the lining of the cup, then covered the entire cake in green fondant.

Here's the cake - almost done! Love the argyle pattern? How golf is that?

Aaaah, the flag! Hole #11, where dad scored his hole in one. The finishing touch!

The happy dad...

And as always, the carnage! By the way, because this cake is so moist, it freezes really well for up to a month.

2 more birthdays this month... more to come!

Love, CaraCakes