One of my favorite things from the turquoise and orange brunch I shared yesterday is this decadent carrot cake. Not only is the cake itself super moist and delicious, but I really love how the pretty "wreath" decoration on top turned out:
For some reason, I've become really obsessed with beautifully decorated cakes - my Pinterest "Desserts" board is full of them. I keep waiting for the perfect special occasion to go all out on some artsy homemade cake topped with piles of delicious candy and edible decoration (like this beautifully decorated cake or this one), but I just can't bring myself to do it! Even though I'm treating myself during the holidays to some sweet treats, cutting back on sugar is always in the back of my mind and topping an already sweet cake with candy seems like a recipe for a stomach ache.
For this dessert, I decided that I just had to add some holiday flair but, because the carrot cake was rich enough, I turned to the produce aisle in search of some decoration. After topping my cream cheese icing with generous handfuls of unsweetened, shredded coconut, I used a package of rosemary, orange slices, and blueberries to create this pretty wreath topped cake.
I LOVE how it turned out!
Wondering about the taste? When it was time to serve the cake I removed the wreath and served the carrot cake plain and there was absolutely NO hint of rosemary flavor, even when the "wreath" sat atop my cake for a good three hours while I fussed with photos. We even had neighbors over for a slice and they were SO enamored with the moist carrot cake recipe - no one detected even a hint of rosemary. Unwilling to waste a delicious sprig, I set aside the rosemary for a slow cooker recipe (the coconut prevented any icing from sticking to it).
Have I mentioned this cake is moist? I snapped that photo of the slice yesterday (Thursday) but I baked it on Sunday! It tastes so fresh, even after all of these days in the fridge. Here's the recipe for anyone who is interested (and here's a link to my sugar-free carrot cake, which is also pretty darn tasty).
Carrot Cake Recipe:
This recipe makes the deliciously tall, double-decker carrot cake I made.
- 2 cups sugar (now you know why it's soooo tasty)
- 2 cups grape seed oil
- 6 eggs
- 6 tbsp sour cream
- 4-6 large carrots, grated
- 3 cups flour
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 3 tsp baking soda
- 2 tbsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp nutmeg
- 2 tsp ginger
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Beat the oil and sugar, then add the eggs and vanilla extract.
In another bowl, sift the dry ingredients. Add to the wet ingredient slowly, mixing well. Stir in the shredded carrots and sour cream.
Pour into two 9" spring form pans and bake for 1 hour, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cream Cheese Icing Recipe:
- 2 blocks cream cheese, softened
- 2 tbsp butter, softened
- 2 cups icing sugar
Beat the cream cheese, butter and icing sugar together until smooth. I'm no expert at decorating a cake, but I have learned to wait until the cake has cooled completely before icing. Place the first cake onto a cake stand or platter and apply a thin layer of icing to the top. Place the second cake on top and press gently. Then use a spatula to spread the icing onto the top and side of the cake.
Wintry Wreath Cake Decoration:
- One package fresh rosemary
- One mandarin orange
- Blueberries or other berries
- Handful of shredded coconut
Sprinkle the top of the carrot cake generously with shredded coconut. Using kitchen sheers, snip the rosemary into approximately 2" pieces. Place the small sprigs in a circle shape, angling them ever-so-slightly so some face toward the center and some to the edge, tucking in the ends when possible. Add orange slices or berries - imagine how pretty cranberries would look!
Store in the refrigerator, covered.
This was a delicious way to add a little festive, holiday flare to my cake, without adding more sugar! For a leafier wreath, I recommend fresh peppermint - which was my second choice, but I loved the classic wintry look of "rosemary," which resembles evergreen wreaths. This edible ivy is pretty cute too.