Caramel Infused Sweet Potato & Carrot Cake, Time To Eat Your Veggies
There is nothing more comforting to me than a home that smells of warm cinnamon. Yes, it may be summer, but I want a warm spice cake! I also wanted to incorporate some veggies into dessert today. I am determined to get these girlies to eat some of nature’s goodness. I had a can of sweet potatoes hiding in my pantry and a freshly shredded bag of carrots. These make a perfect pair, especially when covered in cream cheese frosting. Yea, maybe this isn’t the “healthiest” way to eat your vegetables, but it certainly couldn’t hurt. I am really into making homemade caramel these days. Super simple and super easy. My sneak attack for disguising these orange vegetables was to infuse the cakes with my homemade caramel sauce. The plan sounded great, now to bake it up quickly, before those little eyeballs spot the vegetables going in the batter!
Caramel Infused Sweet Potato & Carrot Cake
Yields: 1-6 inch 4 layer cake or 28 standard cupcakes
For the cake
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup instant vanilla pudding (one box)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup mashed sweet potatoes
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
For the cream cheese frosting
1 cup salted butter, softened
1 cup cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 tbsp clear imitation vanilla extract ( I LOVE McCormicks)
7 cups powdered sugar
For the caramel sauce
1/2 cup salted butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup half and half
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the garnish
1 bag of pecans, chopped ( about 2 1/2 cups)
For the cake
1. Preheat oven 375 degrees and prep 4-6 inch pans with nonstick baking spray.
2. Shred carrots and measure, place aside. Smash cooked sweet potatoes (I used canned) and measure, place aside.
3. In a sifter over the dry ingredients bowl, place flour, soda, powder, and salt. Sift and set aside.
4. In an electric mixer, mix oil and sugars.
5. Add eggs and mix until thick batter forms.
6. Mix in vanilla pudding, then cinnamon and nutmeg.
7. Then add vanilla and sweet potatoes.
8. Add in carrots.
9. Slowly stir in dry ingredients. ALWAYS use lowest setting when incorporating flour. When mostly mixed in, turn off mixer and thoroughly mix by hand to ensure batter is mixed well.
10. Pour 1 1/4 cups of batter into every 6 inch round pan (you will have a little batter left to make a couple of cupcakes).
11. Bake for 24-28 minutes until tops spring back or toothpick comes out mostly clean.
12. Allow cakes to cool in pans for 5-10 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack. Place in freezer so it will be easier to level off and crumb coat. Begin caramel sauce.
1. In a medium sauce pan, melt butter, brown sugar, and salt over medium high heat.
2. Stir mixture constantly to prevent burning. Allow to bubble and cook about 2 minutes.
3. Slowly stir in half and half, it will bubble and spurt rapidly so be careful. Cook stirring constantly for 5-7 minutes.
4. Remove from heat to allow caramel sauce to cool and thicken. I stick mine in the freezer for quicker use (I’m ALWAYS in a hurry).
5. Place in a large glass, liquid measuring cup for pouring purposes later.
For the cream cheese frosting
1. In a mixing bowl, on high combine butter, cream cheese, and vegetable shortening until smooth and creamy.
2. Add in clear vanilla.
3. Slowly stir in one cup at a time of powdered sugar. After all sugar was slowly mixed in, I like to whip it on medium-high about 2 minutes until airy and fluffy.
4. Place in piping bag for filling cakes. Save some in the bowl for frosting sides and top of a cake.
Preparing A Layered Cake:
serrated knife or cake layer cuter
lazy suzan for cake decorating
frosting knife (I like to use straight and bent)
bench scrap for cake sides
1. After removing layers from freezer, place back in appropriate sized pan and use a serrated knife to cut off domed top. Or I have a cake layer cuter from a local cake supply store.
2. When dome top of layers are removed, pour some of the caramel sauce on top. Spread evenly so cake soaks that yumminess up.
3. I like to use thick cardboard cake boards which you can also pick up at local cake supply shops. Dampen a paper towel with water and lay on lazy suzan. Place cake board on top of wet paper towel.
4. Place a dollop of frosting in the center of cake board and place bottom layer on top. Using a piping bag and leaving 1/2″ outer circle bare, fill with frosting in a circular motion.
5. Place middle layer on top and repeat with filling. Be sure to turn your lazy suzan to make it easier on you and make your filling even.
6. Place top layer. We will now crumb coat the cake. This way we won’t get pieces of cake showing through our white frosting.
REMEMBER THE CAKE IS FROZEN AND MAKES IT EASIER TO FROST.
7. Coat the cake in a thin layer of cream cheese frosting and place back in the freezer for about 30 minutes. This makes your crumb coat easy to frost!
8. Remove crumb coated cake from freezer and frost a thicker layer of frosting. Be sure to frost sides first then the top. I like to use a bench scrap tool to frost the sides of my cakes. Wipe frosting knife back into the bowl after every swipe. Plus clean often to get a nice look.
9. Take chopped pecans and gently press into sides of cake. Finally pour all that left over caramel sauce over the top center so it drips down.
10. Enjoy! This cake tastes just as amazing as it looks.
And BTW, each kid of mine LOVED this cake and had absolutely NO idea that they were consuming veggies! SCORE one for momma!