Archive for April 22nd, 2008


TWD – Bill’s Big Carrot Cake

April 22, 2008

Well, TWD this week is Bill’s Big Carrot Cake! And boy was it! Made a very tall cake! Of course… I neglected to get any pictures… all that’s left now is crumbs. So sad. It was very tasty, but I have to say I prefer the recipe I have from one of the local restaurants. I can’t remember if it is from the Brown or the Galt House or the Seelbach…

Well, here’s Dorie’s! Try it for yourself!

Bill’s Big Carrot Cake

For the Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon salt

3 cups grated carrots (About 9 carrots; I grate them in a food processor fitted with a shredding blade)

1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans

1 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)

½ cup moist, plump raisins (dark or golden) or dried cranberries

2 cups sugar

1 cup canola or safflower oil

4 large eggs

For the Frosting

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 pound (3 ¾ cups) confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or ½ teaspoon pure lemon extract

½ cup shredded coconut (optional)

Finely chopped toasted nuts and/or toasted shredded coconut, for topping (optional)

Getting ready:

Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter three 9-x-2-inch round cake pans, flour the insides, and tap out the excess. Put the two pans on one baking sheet and one on another.

To make the cake:

Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, stir together the carrots, chopped nuts, coconut, and raisins.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the sugar and oil together on a medium speed until smooth. Add the eggs one by one and continue to beat until the batter is even smoother. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture, mixing only until the dry ingredients disappear. Gently mix the chunky ingredients. Divide the batter among the baking pans.

Bake for 40-50 minutes, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point, until a thin knife inserted into the centers comes out clean. The cakes will have just started to come away from the sides of the pans. Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes and unmold them. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.

The cakes can be wrapped airtight and kept at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to 2 months.

To make the frosting:

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until the frosting is velvety smooth. Beat in the lemon juice or extract.

If you’d like coconut in the filling, scoop about half of the frosting and stir the coconut into this position.

To assemble the cake:

Put one layer top side up on a cardboard cake round or a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper. If you added the coconut to the frosting, use half of the coconut frosting to generously cover the first layer (or generously cover with plain frosting). Use an offset spatula or a spoon to smooth the frosting all the way to the edges of the layer. Top with the second layer, this time placing the cake stop side down, and frost with the remainder of the coconut frosting or plain frosting. Top with the last layer, right side up, and frost the top- and the sides- of the cake. Finish the top with swirls of frosting. If you want to top the cake with toasted nuts or coconut, sprinkle them on now while the frosting is soft.

Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes, just to set the frosting before serving.


This cake can be served as soon as the frosting is set. It can also wait, at room temperature and covered with a cake keeper overnight. The cake is best served in thick slices at room temperature and while it’s good plain, it’s even better with vanilla ice cream or some lemon curd.


The cake will keep at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. It can also be frozen. Freeze it uncovered, then when it’s firm, wrap airtight and freeze for up to 2 months. Defrost, still wrapped, overnight in the refrigerator.


Homegrown Gourmet #7 – Potato Hot Brown

April 22, 2008

Homegrown Gourmet Logo

Well, I’m participating in, yet another, online baking event! This one is Homegrown! It is being hosted by the lovely Tempered Woman and the ingredient she chose for this month is the potato. The idea behind Homegrown is to make a dish that follows the theme and that somehow represents their home region – town, state, area and your dish can feature a local ingredient, be a traditional dish from your area, or be a creative twist.

Well, being from Louisville, KY I naturally had to make a Hot Brown. It is a classic food of the area and has even been featured on a Throwdown with Bobby Flay on the Food Network. It was either this or Derby pie and I didn’t think potatoes would go very will with the chocolate…

Potato Hot Brown

The recipe for a traditional Hot Brown from the Brown Hotel can be found here along with some history here. For my Potato Hot Brown I made a few changes. For starters, my bread is a homemade potato bread. The recipe for it comes from a cookbook (that I stole from my mother) that is older than I am. I think it was a wedding gift for my parents, heh. Yeah, I’m going to hell. I’ve made this bread many times and it was actually the first bread I ever made. I’ve also added mashed potatoes to my Hot Brown, because, well, everything is better with mashed potatoes!! To liven them up and make them feel “part of the dish” I’ve added some of the sauce, pimentos, and bacon to them. (I know. The hardship of having to eat it, but I’ll persevere.) I also got my wheat (had a friend grind it for me), bacon and eggs from a local farm. I used a 5 lb. bag of Idaho potatoes (I like leftovers) and all but 4 pieces of bacon for the mashed tatters… every thing’s better with bacon!

I’ve always thought the original Hot Brown a little on the bland side, but I think with the addition of the potatoes and the potato bread give it an extra twang of flavor; it’s simply perfect!

Pair of Potato Hot Browns

Here’s the recipe! Happy munching!

Potato Hot Brown

12 tablespoons butter
12 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 cups milk
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 egg, room temperature and beaten
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 cup prepared whipped cream
16 slices toasted potato bread, crust trimmed off
2 pounds cooked turkey breast, thinly sliced
Grated Parmesan cheese for topping
Mashed potatoes (mix in ½ the bacon(crumbled), pimentos(if you’re using them) and sauce) (I used a lot more bacon, but that’s me)

2 (2-ounce) jars diced pimientos, drained (optional)
1or 2 lbs bacon slices, fried crisp (you can never have too much bacon!)

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Gradually add flour, stirring constantly, until smooth and free from lumps. Gradually stir in milk until sauce comes to a gentle boil, stirring constantly; remove from heat. Add Parmesan cheese and stir until melted and well blended.

In a small bowl, beat egg. Gradually add 1 cup of the hot sauce, 1/3 cup at a time, to the egg, stirring constantly to temper. Gradually add egg mixture to remaining sauce, stirring constantly until well blended; add salt and pepper to taste. Fold in whipped cream.

For each Hot Brown sandwich, place two slices of toasted bread on a metal (or flameproof) dish. Cover the toast with mashed potatoes and a liberal amount of turkey. Pour a generous amount of sauce over the turkey. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese. Place entire dish under a broiler until the sauce is speckled brown and bubbly. Remove from broiler, sprinkle with diced pimientos, cross two pieces of bacon over the top, and serve immediately.

Makes 8 servings of two open-faced sandwiches each.

Potato Loaf

This makes a moist, beautifully textured bread with good keeping qualities due to the potatoes.

1 ½ cups cooked potatoes, unseasoned

¼ to ½ cup butter or margarine

1 or 2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk, scalded

1 or 2 cakes yeast

1/3 cup lukewarm water

6 cups sifted flour

Mash the hot, unseasoned potatoes and add the butter or margarine, sugar, and salt. Pour in the scalded milk, and stir to blend ingredients and melt the butter. Cool to lukewarm. Now dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water and stir into the potato-milk mixture. Stir in 3 cups of the flour and beat until smooth. Gradually blend in the rest of the flour to make a medium dough. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured breadboard. Knead for 5 to 7 minutes, or until dough is smooth and elastic. Place in a buttered bowl, brush top of dough with melted butter or oil, cover the bowl and let rise until doubled. When dough has doubled, punch it down and turnout onto a floured breadboard again. Divide dough into 2 parts. Cover with the towel again and let rest for 10 minutes. Then mold and shape the dough, with the hands, into 2 loaves. Place in 2 buttered loaf pans. Cover and let rise until double again. Brush with beaten egg white glaze (p. 348 ) and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Bake in a 400°F oven for 10 minutes and then reduce heat to 350°F and bake for another 40 to 45 minutes.

Braided Potato Loaf

To make the loaf into braids, as suggested in the title, but the dough, after the first rising period, into 2 parts. Cut one part into 3 equal pieces and roll out into strips about 18 inches long. Braid these 3 strips together, tucking the ends under. Place on a lightly buttered cookie sheet. Now divide 2/3 of the remaining part into 3 equal pieces, roll out, and braid as above. Place this braid on top of the first braid. Now, take the remaining piece of dough and roll it out, twist it, like a curlicue, and place this twisted strip of dough on top of the uppermost braid. If you think it necessary, seal the ends with a very little water. Carefully cover the braided loaf, being careful not to disarrange the braids, and let rise until completely doubled. You must not cheat by even 5 or 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F and bake until bread is well browned and done, approximately 45 to 50 minutes longer.

Note: this bread also makes delicious, and very attractive, rolls. Cut or shape into whatever shapes you desire, brush with egg white glaze and sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds. When rolls are doubled, bake them at 400°F for about 20 minutes.

From A World of Baking by Dolores Casella. Published 1968 by David White, Inc. Recipe is on pages 315-316.