Old-fashioned Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Grand Marnier Anglaise
An American classic is raised to new levels with Michael Jordan’s treatment. Individual carrot cakes are starred with cream cheese frosting and served in a pool of Grand Marnier creme anglaise. The quantity made is given for the frosting and the creme anglaise, as these are wonderful used in other dishes.
- Carrot Cake
- Carrot - 1-1/2 cups, shredded
- Fresh lemon juice - 2 tablespoons
- All-purpose flour - 1-1/2 cups
- Sugar - 1-1/4 cups
- Baking Powder - 1 teaspoon
- Salt - 1 teaspoon
- Ground cinnamon - 1 teaspoon
- Peanut Oil - eggs
- Eggs - 3
- Cream Cheese Frosting (makes 3 cups)
- Cream Cheese - 8 ounces, softened
- Unsalted Butter - 1/2 cup, softened
- Confectioner’s Sugar - 16 ounces, sifted
- Vanilla Extract - 1 teaspoon
- Grand Marnier Creme Anglaise (makes 2-1/2 cups)
- Half-and-half cream - 2 cups
- Vanilla bean - 1
- Egg Yolks - 4
- Sugar - 1/3 cup
- Grand Marnier - 4 tablespoons
- Oranges - 6, cut into skinless segments (supremes)
- Mint sprigs - 12
- Confectioner’s sugar for dusting
To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter and flour a 12-cup muffin pan. Mix the carrots and lemon juice and set aside. Combine the dry ingredients in the large bowl of an electric mixer and blend well on low speed. Add the oil and blend again. Increase the speed to medium and add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Stop the mixer and stir in the carrot mixture. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each not quite full. Place in the middle of the oven and bake 30 minutes, or until the edges of the cakes pull away from the sides of the cups and a toothpick inserted in the center of a cake comes out clean. Take out of the oven and cool on a cake rack for 10 minutes. Unmold and cool the individual cakes to room temperature on the rack.
To make the frosting: Put the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat on medium speed until combined. Scrape the bowl and beaters. With the mixer on medium, slowly add confectioner’s sugar. Pour the sugar at the edge of the bowl, not directly into the beaters, to avoid creating a cloud! When all the sugar has been incorporated, beat in the vanilla.
Put the frosting in a pastry bag fitted with a small star tip. Slice the cakes in half horizontally and fill with a thin layer of cream cheese frosting. Put the tops back on. Pipe many little stars of frosting on top of each cake. Set aside for at least half an hour to let the frosting harden slightly.
To make the creme anglaise: Put the half-and-half in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the cream; drop in the pods. Bring just to a boil. Remove from heat and set aside to steep for 15 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean pods. Set a medium bowl in a larger bowl of ice. In another medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture is pale yellow. Whisking constantly, very slowly pour the scalded cream into the egg mixture until it is all incorporated. Stir in the Grand Marnier. Pour the custard back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring slowly with a wooden spoon, until the custard thickens. Do not boil. Remove the custard from the heat and strain through a fine-mesh sieve into the bowl set in ice. Stir with a whisk while cooling.
To serve: Fill the center of each dessert plate with creme anglaise. Place a frosted carrot cake in the center of each. Arrange orange segments around the cakes. Place a mint sprig on each. Dust the entire plates with confectioner’s sugar.