Nobody likes to make their own birthday cake. Lord knows I've done it (plenty of times, in fact.) Some years I actually do get excited about baking for myself, but other years, I just want someone else to make me a cake. So, when my excellent friend Nikki told me she was going to make her own birthday cake this year, I jumped in and put an end to that madness. What are friends for!?
Lucky for me, she knew just what she wanted: Carrot Cake! But then I discovered that there were so many carrot cake recipes to choose from... It was a bit overwhelming! After much indecision, I decided to go with the recipe from Vegan With A Vengeance. I've heard raves about this recipe for YEARS, but I hadn't ever made it. The recipe is for a Coconut and Macadamia Nut Carrot Cake, but I de-tropicalized the whole affair... Took out the coconut, swapped orange juice and orange zest instead of pineapple juice, and used walnuts instead of macadamia nuts. Oh, and I added an extra cup of grated carrots, because more carrots seemed better. I was just feeling traditional, I guess.
I made two batches, to make a 9x13 two-layered cake. I made the Lemony Cream Cheeze Frosting from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World (a triple batch, for such a big cake!), and then I coated the edges with walnuts.... my new favorite trick. I really love the way that makes the cake look so fancy and pretty.
My favorite part though, was all the tiny marzipan carrots I made. I was planning on making marzipan carrots, and then I saw a tip on Hell Yeah, It's Vegan to brush on a little cocoa powder to make them look fresh-from-the-earth. It made such a difference! As you can see, I used actual carrot greens for a touch of realism.
How to Make Marzipan Carrots:
They were really easy to make, especially since I used store-bought marzipan. I kneaded in some orange and red food coloring until I got a nice orange color. Then I cut them into roughly equal-sized blobs, and rolled them into little carrot shapes. Next I used my fingernails to roll in the funny little creases that carrots have... and to generally make the carrots a bit more irregular and natural-looking. A light application of cocoa powder instantly transformed them into super realistic baby carrots. Finally, I washed and spun dry some actual carrot greens. I used a toothpick to punch a little hole in the top of each carrot, cut off an attractive bit of carrot greens, and poked it into the hole. Voila!
here you can see just how tiny and adorable they were.
Most of the baby carrots were scattered around the edges for effect... but I made a few slightly larger ones to decorate the top of the cake with.