Carrot Cake Wraps Up KC BBQ Week
Posted by AviFriday October 8, 2010
It’s Friday. And while that means the weekend starts tonight, it’s also, sadly, the last day of our Kansas City barbecue coverage. For now, at least…before long I’m sure we’ll again be talking about Kentucky Fried Chicken-sized buckets of burnt ends.
We started the week with Paul Kirk’s Bare Bones Barbecue Sauce (that’s Paul above on the left, with Julia Child). Since then, Adam’s written about three of the top barbecue joints in Kansas City: Fiorella’s Jack Stack (the table cloth, sit down place), Oklahoma Joe’s (order at the counter and eat off trays), and Arthur Bryant’s (famous for its sauces). All three served up the meaty goods: ribs, pulled pork, and burnt ends at Jack Stack; more ribs, pulled pork and burnt ends, plus brisket and sausage at Oklahoma Joe’s; and finally the special-sauce-slathered beef sandwich at Arthur Bryant’s (and ribs, pulled pork…you get the idea).
The sides were there, too—coleslaw, potato salad, baked beans—plus one I’d never heard of and could only imagine how good it was: a block of cheddar cheese baked with sweet corn, served warm and dripping. An “unholy matrimony of goodness,” Adam called it.
Jack Stack’s onion rings are worth another mention, too. A few nights ago I put barbecue sauce on some pretty average onion rings (not like Jack Stack’s thick cut, Tower of Babel rings; these were just your run-of-the-mill flimsy ones), and the sauce really transformed them. If you order onion rings anywhere in the vicinity of good barbecue, try them with a tangy barbecue sauce instead of ketchup.
So, after all the savory meat binging this week, let’s finish with a worthy dessert. In Adam’s Tuesday post he wrote about a particular grapefruit-sized, cream-cheese-frosted carrot cake. Unsurprisingly, it made me seriously want a piece.
From Mom’s Big Book of Baking, we bring you Lauren Chattman’s Carrot Cake Squares. Lauren uses butter instead of oil; many recipes actually call for the latter. “But butter just tastes better,” she writes, “and let’s be honest, are you really so concerned about cholesterol if you’re planning on covering the cake with cream cheese frosting?”
Apparently—belies full of barbecue—we’re not too worried about it.
Carrot Cake Squares
Makes 9 squares (regular not grapefruit-sized)
Nonstick cooking spray
2 large eggs, at room temperature
¼ cup milk, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 cups peeled and grated carrots (about 4 medium carrots)
½ cup chopped walnuts
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat the inside of an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray and dust with flour, knocking out any extra flour. Combine the eggs and milk in a glass measuring cup and lightly beat.
2. Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a medium mixing bowl.
3. Combine the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and cream with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice as necessary.
4. With the mixer on medium-low speed, pour one-third of the egg mixture into the bowl in a slow stream. Add one-third of the flour mixture. Add another third of the egg mixture and another third of the flour mixture. Add the remaining egg mixture and then the remaining flour mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Stir in the carrots and walnuts.
5. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Bake the cake until it is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for about 15 minutes, invert it onto a wire rack, and then turn it right side up on a rack to cool completely.
6. Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting and cut into 9 squares. Carrot Cake Squares will keep, covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated, for up to 2 days.
Cream Cheese Frosting
One 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon grated lemon zest or
1 teaspoon grated orange zest (optional)
1. Combine the cream cheese and butter in a large mixing bowl. With an electric mixer, beat on medium-high speed until the mixture is light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
2. With the mixer on low speed, add the confectioners’ sugar several tablespoons at a time until all the sugar is combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Stir in the vanilla and zest, if you are using it. Turn the mixer to high speed and beat until very smooth, 3 to 4 minutes.
3. Use immediately, or refrigerate it, wrapped in plastic, for up to 1 week, and let the frosting come to room temperature before using.