This recipe has about 200 ingredients and 800 steps. It’s worth it.
- The Cake!
- 1 1⁄4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 cups flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. salt
- 4 eggs
- 1 lb. carrots, peeled and grated
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- The Filling!
- 1 cup sugar
- 1⁄4 cup flour
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1⁄4 cup butter
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- The Frosting!
- 8 oz. softened cream cheese
- 1 cup butter, room temperature
- 3 cups powdered sugar (or more until right consistency)
- 1 tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven to 325°.
Combine oil and sugar in mixing bowl. Beat well.
Sift together all dry ingredients. Mix half of the sifted dry ingredients into the oil and sugar.
Add remaining dry ingredients, alternating with eggs, a bit at a time; make sure your last addition is dry ingredients.
Fold in grated carrots and chopped pecans, by hand.
Pour into lightly-oiled 10-inch tube pan (aka an angel food pan, not a Bundt pan).
Bake at 325° for about 1 hour and 10 minutes. To check doneness, touch surface of cake (gently!). If it springs back and doesn’t stick to your fingers, it’s done.
Combine sugar and flour in a small heavy saucepan. Don’t heat it yet.
To avoid lumps, gradually stir in heavy cream.
Add butter and salt.
Cook over very low heat, stirring constantly, until it just starts to simmer a bit. Take your time! This can take a good half hour.
Let simmer 2 — 3 minutes.
Remove from heat. Cool until lukewarm.
Stir in nuts and vanilla. Cool completely, ideally overnight.
Combine cream cheese, butter and vanilla with mixer. Gradually add powdered sugar and beat until smooth.
Split cooled cake into three layers.
Spread filling between the layers (let the filling warm to room temperature so it won’t mangle the cake!)
Risin’ Like a BOSS!
Short answer: They aren’t. Pay attention and use whichever one a recipe calls for (and don’t get sloppy about the amount, either!). I ruined a few recipes before I got those factoids through my head.
Longer answer: They’re both leaveners, along with yeast, which means they produce carbon dioxide gas bubbles that make your baked goods rise (your mojo might be risin’, by the way, but it is not a leavener).
Baking soda needs to combine with something acidic to get gassy: vinegar, buttermilk, yogurt, lemon juice, etc. (That’s also why sometimes a recipe calls for buttermilk, but says you can just mix some milk and vinegar as a substitute: The buttermilk is there to provide some acid, not for its taste.)
Baking powder, on the other hand, already has an acid mixed in (cornstarch or cream of tartar, usually), so it’s self-rising. Most baking powder is double-acting, meaning it rises when it gets wet, then rises again when it gets hot (wink wink nudge nudge saynomore!).
If you use too much baking soda, or use baking soda when you were supposed to use baking powder, there won’t be enough acid to neutralize it, and your recipe will taste like Tums, except even nastier.
Some recipes, like this one, use both baking soda and baking powder. Why? Because sometimes you need more lift, but you don’t want to add more acidic ingredients. The baking powder provides the additional lift without affecting the taste.