What have you been up to this weekend? I have been performing with the KSO! It’s been a fantastic weekend spent with some incredible local musicians. I have to say though,
I am looking forward to getting into the halloween spirit tomorrow night with some pumpkin carving and perhaps a horror film to bring things to a creepy finish. What are your favourite halloween traditions? (I can’t wait to light a jack-O-lantern on the 31st).
As excited as I am to get into the halloween spirit, I have been preoccupied with some other, more important career moves over the past couple days…I’ve been busy rocking out to the music of Queen!! :) Yes, you heard me right. The Kamloops Symphony Orchestra has officially left Beethoven behind for the weekend to focus on some classic 80’s rock!
In rehearsal on Friday I got some serious flash backs to when I was 15 and memorized the lyrics to Bohemian Rhapsody… shudder… (I have mixed feelings about that phase of my life).. nerdy or a normal rite of passage? Did any of you get into Queen at some point too?
Let’s be honest though, the whole Queen-arranged-for-orchestra shebang is a pretty natural call. I may be biased, but you can’t beat the powerful and expressive sound of a symphony orchestra! I’m sure Freddy Mercury would have approved of the KSO’s joint band-meets-orchestra venture. :)
We had some free time this weekend before concert número dos, so I decided to share one of my all time favourite classic recipes with you– Coconut Carrot Cake! So—- I’m gonna say a bold statement…. This is my favourite cake. It really is! (My best friend even knew to bake it for my 25th birthday this past year. I was the happiest birthday girl!)
Why is this cake such a hit? I think I have it figured out: This recipe combines timeless carrot cake ingredients like aromatic spices, roasted walnuts and freshly grated carrot with three unconventional flavours– coconut, pineapple and mascarpone cheese. These newer additions help to create a cake that is creamy, nutty and moist without being too heavy or dense in texture. With each bite, the mascarpone cheese frosting has a luxurious way of melting into the cake’s billowy centre, and its deliciously decadent taste rivals that of its cousin–the cream cheese frosting.
The best part? It is fuss-free recipe, so you can pop the cake in the oven and present it on a platter in no time with a grand slathering of creamy, cheesy frosting (the messier the better!). I find this cake to be such a comforting, dreamy dessert that seems to fit the bill whatever the occasion may be. Can you understand why it’s my favourite now? :)
Coconut Carrot Cake (With Mascarpone Frosting)
Yield: Two 8-inch round cakes. Bake: 350 F. for 30 mins.
1 1/2 cups grated organic carrots 3/4 cup (180 mL) crushed pineapple 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut 3/4 cup chopped, roasted walnuts 1/2 cup chopped dates 3/4 cup vegetable oil 3/4 cup brown sugar 1/3 cup white sugar 3 eggs 2 tsp vanilla 1 1/2 cup white flour 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon 2 tsp baking powder 1 tsp baking soda 1/4 tsp salt 1 1/2 tsp ginger 1/2 tsp nutmeg 1/2 tsp allspice
12 oz. Mascarpone cheese, room temperature 4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature 2 cups sifted icing sugar 2 tbsp heavy cream 1/2 tsp vanilla extract 1/4 tsp salt
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Butter two 8″ round cake pans and set aside. Combine grated carrot, pineapple, coconut and walnuts in a large bowl. In a mixing bowl, beat the sugars with the eggs. Stir in the vanilla and whip on high until the volume has tripled. On low, pour the oil in slowly to blend in.
2. Combine the remaining dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl and whisk together. Gently stir dries into the egg mix. Fold in the carrot mixture. Divide the batter among the cake pans and smooth the tops. Bake 30 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
3. Leave cakes in tin for 15 minutes, then gently remove and cool upside down on wire racks. While the cakes cool, prepare the frosting. Beat mascarpone and cream cheese together until blended. Add remaining ingredients and blend together on medium high for about two minutes. Don’t over mix or else frosting may curdle.
4. When cakes are completely cool (at least 1 hour resting), lay first cake on serving platter. Dollop 1/3 of the frosting on centre of the cake and smooth out, leaving gooey amounts near the edges of the cake. Squish second cake on top of the first icing layer so that some frosting gushes out the sides. Top off the top layer cake with the remaining 2/3 of the frosting, again allowing the frosting to goo over the edges. Garnish with toasted coconut if you like or leave plain. Serve with strong black tea! :)
And there you have it–My favourite cake recipe! I hope you enjoy your renditions as much as I enjoyed making (and eating!) mine. What a classic this cake is!
I hope you have a wonderful week ahead full of spooky festivities, comforting seasonal meals and perhaps some rare moments of wild abandon (maybe channel your inner Queen for some shower tunes…!? DO it I dare you.) :)
PS: This week I haven’t been sleeping so well and can’t stop thinking of this article! Fun fact: Why we need sleep