Welcome back to my favorite column and yours (I hope): Recipe of the Week! Last week was all about birthday cake, since tomorrow is my birthday, and I was absolutely overwhelmed with all of the delicious cake recipes that were tossed my way.
The competition was fierce, but in the end, a pie emerged victorious, and commenter "Raspberry Pie" claimed the crown with this double whammy.
Two-tier carrot cake, with a cheesecake middle layer. This way, you get two cakes in one, which is almost like two birthdays in one. I use the recipe below, but I like to roast the carrots first with some brown sugar or maple syrup on top because why the hell not. For the cheesecake, I use a plain recipe, but usually sub mascarpone because I don't really like cream cheese (this has caused a huge rift between my husband and me. He declares that cream cheese frosting is the best part of carrot cake, and I think it's the worst. Yet somehow we're still married). Bake everything as directed, assemble, frost, and enjoy!
So, first of all, a disclaimer: I am terrible at decorating any sort of pastry, but I'm particularly unskilled with frosting; like, I'm the poster child for Pinterest "nailed it" photos.
It's important to point out that my shortcomings are not Raspberry Pie's. She did her part and provided not one, but two amazing recipes, that were actually quite easy to follow. More importantly, they were delicious. The carrot cake was moist (sorry but it was), not too sweet, and had the best cream cheese frosting I've ever tasted (the secret is a bit of maple syrup with some orange zest!). And the cheesecake, such cheesecake. It was fluffy, creamy, with a slight sour cream tanginess. It was all there.
Each cake came out of the oven looking beautiful, but assembly was a different story. First of all, there seemed to be a lot more cheesecake than carrot cake, which I was okay with because cheesecake is one of my favorite things. Not knowing what else to do, I plopped cheesecake on top of one of the carrot cakes and then topped it with yet another carrot cake. Cheesecake bulged out from every whichaway, and I decided to "scrape the excess out" to make frosting easier.
Long story short: this failed spectacularly, and I decided that -- since this was for my birthday enjoyment -- I didn't give a damn, so I frosted the top carrot cake only and stuck some candles in.
Then I ate a piece for breakfast and rejoiced, for it was delicious.
I would like to thank Raspberry Pie from the bottom of my heart for this delicious birthday treat and I'd like to apologize for asaulting your eyes with my cake "decorating." Your trophy, dear friend, is my favorite birthday song of all time.
Moving right along.
Walking around my neighborhood, I have gleaned that tomato season is finally upon us. I have also gleaned that I am the only person in Portland who didn't plant any tomatoes. This isn't a great tragedy, because farmer's markets.
I can't wait for that first, perfect tomato sandwich, but I know there must be other ways to eat these beautiful love apples. Tomato tarts are thing, right? Tomato jam as well? What I'm getting at is that I want your favorite ways to eat fresh, vine-ripened tomatoes, please and thank you.