Monday, August 17, 2009

A Great Feast

Sunday, after church, my husband's Greek professor and his wife graciously opened their home for a small group of us to eat lunch. They were a perfect example of the message that our pastor shared in his Sunday sermon.

He spoke on 1 Peter 4:7-11, and spent a good long while expounding on using one's gifts to love one another and to show hospitality to one another. How hard is it to love one another? It truly is difficult! But, you know, we all have been given gifts, and should use those gifts, whatever they are, to show love to one another, even when it is difficult. That is true hospitality. Our host and hostess on Sunday did all that they could to welcome us into their home, to be hospitable, and to love us.

You know, I love that I love to cook. I am really happy that is one of my gifts. And although sometimes I struggle with my lack of other gifts, (my husband has a wonderful gift of conversation and the ability to know just what to say, which I often find difficult), one of the things that I love about cooking as a means of love and hospitality is that it points to a feast that is to come. Our small-scale "feasts" here are just a mirror of the beautiful wedding feast that we will enjoy when Christ is joined forever with his bride, the Church.

This cake was my contribution to our feast on Sunday. It is particularly rich and moist. Although it was wonderful as-is, I think that it would be excellent with 1-2 teaspoons of fresh grated ginger in the batter.

Carrot Cake
Adapted from Southern Living

For the cake:
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 cups grated carrots
1 orange, zested
1/2 cup fresh pineapple, cut into small pieces
1 cup sweetened coconut
1 cup chopped pecans

For the Glaze:
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon soda
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup butter
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Icing:
16 oz cream cheese, room temperature
8 oz butter, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
zest of 1 orange
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon almond extract

Butter and flour three round cake pans. Line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper; butter and flour the parchment.

Mix the dry ingredients in a small bowl.

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, oil, buttermilk, and vanilla until well blended. Add the dry ingredients and mix well. Fold in the carrots, orange zest, pineapple, coconut and pecans. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes.

While the cake is baking, prepare the glaze. In a medium saucepan, heat the sugar, soda, butter, buttermilk and corn syrup over medium heat. Boil for four minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and stir in the vanilla. Pour the glaze all over all three cakes while they are warm, brushing the glaze so that it soaks into every little part of the cake. Allow the cakes to sit in the pans for several hours, until they are completely cooled.

To prepare the icing, beat the cream cheese and butter until nice and creamy. Mix in the lemon juice and extract, and add the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at the time. Use a spatula to fold in the zest.

Remove the cake layers from the pans, and remove the parchment. Ice the cooled cake layers, and refrigerate. Hint: I prepared the cake layers, wrapped them individually in saran wrap and froze them overnight. It makes icing the cake so much easier.

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Danielle said...

Beautiful and YUMMY! Particularly loved reading your thoughts regarding hospitality and cooking.. I enjoy both very much and am working on putting myself out there more often by inviting people over, opening up, etc. Great blog!

Chandra said...

This was a FABULOUS cake, I must say, as one who was blessed to eat it at this gathering. The most moist carrot cake I've ever had, and the orange zest was a wonderful addition. Thanks so much, Belle of the Kitchen!

Emily Dudley said...

Dorothy, I love your blog! This cake looks great, and I'd love to try baking one myself. I've got to work on my "zesting," though. Thanks for sharing! :)

Barefoot Belle said...

Thanks, Emily! The best tool I have found to use for zesting citrus is a Microplane Fine grater. They actually make a grater/zester (the same thing, but skinny), but I like the wide grater myself. I used the coarse Microplane grater to grate the carrots, but I think you can buy carrots already grated, too!