Behind the Scenes

Mini Carrot Cakes: A Classic Springtime Dessert

Looking to learn more about your favorite Plated recipes and the chefs who designed, tested, and perfected them? You’re in the right place. In case this is your first taste, take a look back at a few other Plated dinners we’ve explored in-depth, from Sweet Potato Noodles Primavera to juicy cheeseburgers stuffed with all the flavors of Thanksgiving.

This time, we’re doing something different, and giving you a special look behind our take on a classic springtime dessert. Behold: Mini Stuffed Carrot Cakes with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Beginnings

During April, you can barely walk into a store without immediately being confronted by aisles of pastel-hued candies and cardboard cutouts of bunnies. So, we thought it only appropriate to create a springtime carrot cake recipe. Chef Laura, one of our resident dessert masterminds and experts on all things baking, adores this bright orange, dreamy cake.

But, knowing that shredding carrots isn’t everyone else’s idea of fun (not to mention that baking multiple cake layers and piling frosting all around them would be overkill for an everyday treat), Laura opted for a more simplistic technique that doesn’t take an entire afternoon—with an adorable presentation to boot!

Baby Cakes

Walnuts. Pineapple. Coconut. Raisins (golden raisins). Cinnamon. Nutmeg. Ginger.

Those of us who love carrot cake do so with a passion unrivaled by most other dessert obsessions. We’re known to argue about the best mix-ins—whether for more crunch, better chew, extra moisture, a fruitier bite, a sweeter crumb… the list goes on. Laura sought to satisfy all parties with a simple, no-frills cake that shines on its own.

We focused on a cake that’s easy to throw together. It’s made in one bowl, with pre-shredded carrots to seriously reduce prep time. Cinnamon and a little sugar highlight the natural flavor and sweetness of the carrots. Baked into individual mini cake tins, they’re a fun, personal treat—and they provide the perfect excuse to practice a very important kitchen skill: piping!

When Laura first dreamt up this recipe, it started with a technique for “coring” the mini cakes with a knife, making way for delicious frosting to be stuffed inside. But because they’re so small, that eliminated a significant amount of delicious cake. Now, just a tiny bit is scooped out with a teaspoon.

And another thing: cream cheese frosting is super easy to make! You need just three ingredients: salt, cream cheese (obviously) and powdered sugar. Whisk them together until you get out all the sugar lumps, and you’ll have fluffy, creamy magic.

Finally, this recipe will teach you how to create impressive, visually stunning piping without a fancy piping bag or elaborate tips. Fill the corner of a resealable plastic bag with frosting, being sure to push it down completely into the corner, and twist the rest of the bag closed on top of the frosting. Cut a hole in that corner of the bag—smaller if the frosting is more runny and larger if it’s thick. Keep one hand around the frosting to guide it, and one hand around the twisted top of the bag to apply pressure. Press down, moving the tip of the bag in a circular motion, and voila!

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