For me, decadent almost always requires chocolate. It’s how my brain works.
What’s something quintessentially ‘Easter’ that would be better than ever with chocolate added?
Duh. Carrot cake. Seriously, it just got so much better. I also added almonds, instead of more traditional pecans or walnuts. Happy cake.
I knew right away that this cake wasn’t going to have the traditional cream cheese frosting that you always see on carrot cakes either. I mean, sure, it would’ve been delicious, but I wanted something lighter and unique. I settled pretty quickly on doing a lovely Swiss meringue frosting, but I gave it a twist by using brown sugar and adding almond extract. The silky, lightly sweet frosting was the perfect compliment to the rich chocolate cake.
I decorated the bottom tier of this cake by using a basic star tip and piping simple loop-de-loops horizontally around the cake. Easy peasy. I found that the best method for this was to do the bottom row of loops first, then do the top row and work your way down, to layer the loops slightly over each other.
And thanks to Wonderelle, my cake went into cuteness overload with these sweet Love Bunnies. I mean, really, can you even handle the cute? The gorgeous mint green cake stand, and glitzy gold glitter server (and matching knife) are also Wonderelle pieces. Everything you need for a beautiful Easter dessert table in one gorgeous little shop!
I seriously love all of the pieces I’ve gotten from Wonderelle. They’re all very useful and functional, while still being pretty enough to keep out and display, rather than hiding away in a cabinet. The little set of cupcake stands are a particular favorite. I’m actually using them all around my home to display sweet items (like mini Lalaloopsy dolls in my office).
And just look how ridiculously cute the Ice Cream Waffle Glass is with pretty straws in it. Fuhgedduhboutit.
All the spicy goodness of carrot cake, made richer and more decadent with a big shot of cocoa. It doesn’t get much better, friends. Oh wait…then there’s light and lovely brown sugar Swiss meringue buttercream, spiked with almond flavoring.
If you’re not an almond fan, or you have friends or family with a nut allergy, this recipe is still completely wonderful without the almonds and extract. Just replace the almond extract with vanilla extract, and have a happy day!
Thank you to Wonderelle for helping my Easter be sweeter and sparklier! After you make the cake, scroll down to enter for a chance to win $200 of your very own to spend at Wonderelle.com!
*Take note that the frosting in this recipe, since it is made with brown sugar, has a darker ivory or tan color. The bottom color on the pink and orange tier is what the frosting looks like without food coloring added. This is important to remember wham adding color, as you won’t achieve the same bright colors you will if you make the frosting with white sugar.
Chocolate Almond Carrot Cake
with Brown Sugar Almond Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Makes 2 8-inch round layers
FOR THE CAKE
1/2 cup (4 ounces or 125ml) hot coffee or hot water
2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 cups (about 254g) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (50g) cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups (about 1/2 pound) peeled and shredded carrots
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
1/4 cup (about 64g) brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
2/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 cup chopped almonds
FOR THE FROSTING
5 large egg whites
1 cup (255g) brown sugar, packed
pinch of salt
2 cups (4 sticks or about 450g) unsalted butter, softened and cut into 2 tablespoon chunks
1 teaspoon (5ml) almond extract (or vanilla extract)
Food coloring, optional
To make the cake: In a medium bowl, or a two cup measuring cup, add the semi-sweet chocolate to the hot coffee or water and let sit 4 to 5 minutes. Stir until all the chocolate is melted and thoroughly mixed into the water. Set aside until cooled to room temperature.
Once the cocoa/coffee mixture has cooled, preheat oven to 350 degrees (180 C). Grease and flour two 8-inch round cake pans (or spray with cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper).
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and salt; set aside.
In a large bowl, or in the bowl of a standing mixer, combine the sugar, brown sugar, and oil; mix well. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition. Once combined, beat well for 1 to 2 minutes, until the mixture is throughly combined and light in color. Stir in the carrots until evenly distributed.
Sprinkle 1/3 of the flour mixture over the bowl and mix until just combined. Add 1/2 of the chocolate mixture, mixing again until just combined. Repeat with reamining flour and chocolate mixtures, ending with flour. Mix only until flour is just incorporated. Do not over mix. Stir in the almonds until evenly distributed.
Pour the batter into prepared pan(s) and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (baking times may be slightly longer, depending on the pan you use). Place the pan on a wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely before frosting and serving.
To make the frosting: In a large bowl, or the bowl of a standing mixer, set over a pot of simmering water, combine the egg whites, sugar, and salt. Heat the mixture, whisking often, until it reaches 160 degrees and the sugar is dissolved.
Remove from heat and whisk on medium high speed until stiff peaks form, about 8-10 minutes. The mixture should also be room temperature, at this point.
With the mixer on medium speed, add the butter, 1 piece at a time, and beat until incorporated before adding another piece. Continue to beat until thick and smooth (if it looks curdled or soupy, just keep beating it until smooth again, another 3 minutes or so). Stir in the almond until incorporated.
Add food coloring, as desired.
Recipes by Darla
**Whaddaya think? Wanna chance to win $200 to spend at Wonderelle?** It’s easy! Just visit Wonderelle’s shop, browse around a bit, then return here and answer the following question in the comment section below: “What will buy from Wonderelle if you win?” Personally, I’m completely smitten with the gilded Ice Cream Waffle Glass. Shiny! Contest ends Monday, April 21st, 2014 at 11:59pm PST, and you’re automatically entered to win when you comment! Want an extra chance to win? Just follow @Bakingdom on twitter and tweet, “I want to win a $200 gift card to @wonderelleshop from @bakingdom! http://t.co/3mwNBL5kyx” Once you’ve tweeted, return here and leave a comment saying you shared the tweet. Be sure to leave this as a separate comment; each comment is an entry. For another entry, visit Wonderelle’s Facebook page, and ‘Like’ them. Afterwards, come back here and leave another comment, saying you ‘Liked’ their page. That’s three opportunities to enter! This giveaway is open to international readers. The winner will be chosen randomly at www.random.org and announced Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014. I will contact the winner, so don’t forget to add your email in the email section! **Comments are moderated, so if you’ve never commented before, it will take some time for your comment to appear!** Good luck with the giveaway!
*This is a sponsored giveaway, but my opinions of the products are my own.