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Carrot Cake Chanukah Cake

Serves 18-30, depending on portions

Ingredients:

Fruit and Carrot Mixture:
2 cups dark raisins
1 cup yellow raisins
1 cup pitted dates
1 cup dried, California apricots
2 cups dried cranberries
4 cups grated carrots
1 Granny Smith apple, grated
1 12 ounce can, drained, pineapple chunks
2 cups walnuts (or pecans), chopped (not fine, large chop)
Cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon mace
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Clabber Girl Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup corn or vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
Zest of one orange, finely minced
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange extract
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 eggs
Icing/Mock Rolled Fondant (optional):
2 cups confectioners' sugar, or more
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Water, as required
Soaking Syrup:
1 cup water
Zest and juice of one orange
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon orange oil or extract
1/4 cup orange liqueur or spirits such as brandy

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 325 F. Using nonstick cooking spray as the 'glue', line a 9 or 10 inch spring form pan with strips of parchment paper on the sides and a circle of parchment on the bottom. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and put the pan on it.

In a large bowl, cover the raisins, cranberries, dates and apricots with hot water. Grate the carrots. Drain the dried fruit and mix them, with the pineapple, carrots, apple, and walnuts in a bowl. Set aside. In a mixer bowl, cream the oil with the sugar and orange zest well. Add in eggs, vanilla, orange extract and lemon juice. As it mixes, in another bowl, whisk to blend, the cinnamon, cloves, allspice, mace, baking soda and baking powder. Fold this gently, into the egg and sugar mixture, then fold in the fruit mixture to make a thick batter, stirring well, to combine evenly. Spoon into the pan.

Bake until cake tests done by touching with fingertips and cake springs back, 2 hours at 325 F and 1 hour, approximately, at 300 F. Cool very well before icing.

For the icing, cream the confectioners' sugar with the butter, and vanilla. Add in more confectioners' sugar (or water) to achieve the frosting or fondant consistency desired. Frost on cake, or make the mixture thick as fondant, rolling on additional confectioners' sugar to make a moldable or rolling fondant. To cover as per fruitcake, smear cake with a thin coating of warmed jam and then enrobe in fondant. Keep cake cool or chilled.

If using the soaking syrup (and/or frosting), simmer all the ingredients for the syrup and cool. Once the baked cake is cool, brush with syrup. (Refrigerate extra syrup). Wrap in a clean tea towel and store in a tin. Brush with syrup every few days until you serve cake (but it is good a day after baking!)

Comments:

Everything you love about carrot cake, re-configured in a fruitier, longer lasting cake that is perfect for Chanukah hospitality. Make a big one to slice and serve or a few smaller ones as gifts. Garnish with Chanukah gelt on top of the fabulous snow white icing.