The leader of organized festivities in our film group, Soiree Du Film, is Robert Bennett. His setup for Oscar Night is always breathtaking. Of course it always helps when your partner is the brain behind K Aubrey Flowers and a great Southern cook. But all of our birthdays have been beautifully celebrated and this year was to be Bob’s year. Kevin located a balloon shop in Annandale that delivered over 400 helium charged balloons. It does not have a website, but their contact information is worth having, if you need LOTS of balloons delivered and ready to take flight to your ceiling.
The Party Company, 4421 John Marr Drive, Annandale, VA Phone 703 354 6178
Nils and Sonia along with her mother from Paris cooked the meal. All I had to do was show up with a carrot cake for Bob. And of course, our videographer extraordinaire, Nils Bertrand made this marvelous video.
Bob’s favorite cake is carrot cake and I have baked, bought and tasted many; to my mind the winner is this adaptation from an AOOP (Alas Out Of Print) cookbook by Camille Glen titled “The Heritage of Southern Cooking“. This old girl made her reputation making cakes in Louisville, Kentucky. Her Golden Cointreau Cake or her Southern Heirloom Cake are both worth another blog entry. I substitute mascarpone for cream cheese as a personal preference in the frosting. She calls this Queen Anne’s Cake in honor of the carrot relative, Queen Anne’s Lace.
1 cup unsalted butter (I use Plugra)
4 large eggs
2 cups grated carrots (usually 6 to 8 carrots) I hand grate these
on a box grater which gives you a thinner texture than if you did it in food processor
2 cups all purpose flour (I prefer Hecker’s)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp Vanilla Extract. For this cake I use Nielsen Massey Mexican Vanilla
6oz unsalted butter (10 Tbs)
4 1/4 cups sifted India Tree confectioner’s sugar
A couple of pinches of fine sea salt
2 tsp Nielsen Massey Mexican Vanilla Extract
Preheat your oven to 350F. Grease and flour 2 9×2 round cake pans. Instead of flour, I use hazelnut or almond flour. Also if you have problems getting cakes out of your pans, use parchment circles. Less stressful… Cream butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy. Add eggs and beat until mixture is silky and looks like mayonnaise. It should fall in a ribbon from a spoon. Beat in grated carrots
Combine the flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder and salt. Sift before folding by hand into carrot mixture. A spoonula is an awesome folding tool for cake batters. Divide batter between the two pans. Each should be about 3/4 full. Place on middle shelf in oven and bake about 30-35 minutes. Cake should spring back at once when lightly touched.
With the flat blade of a mixer or in a food processor mix the mascarpone with the butter until it is free of lumps. Gradually add the confectioner’s sugar, salt and the vanilla. Mix until smooth. Chill frosting until it has a good spreading consistency– about an hour. You can make a crumb coating first, which will give the cake a more professional look. Marzipan carrots or spiced walnuts make a nice decoration. The frosting amount leaves you enough to do some piped rosettes if you wish.