Brown Butter Carrot Sheet Cake with Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese German Buttercream


 
Brown Butter Carrot Sheet Cake is taken to the next level with a fluffy, whipped vanilla bean cream cheese german buttercream. This cake comes together super easily but is super delicious, and would make the perfect easter dessert. #brownbutter #carrotcake #sheetcake #germanbuttercream
Brown Butter Carrot Sheet Cake is taken to the next level with a fluffy, whipped vanilla bean cream cheese german buttercream. This cake comes together super easily but is super delicious, and would make the perfect easter dessert. #brownbutter #carrotcake #sheetcake #germanbuttercream
Brown Butter Carrot Sheet Cake is taken to the next level with a fluffy, whipped vanilla bean cream cheese german buttercream. This cake comes together super easily but is super delicious, and would make the perfect easter dessert. #brownbutter #carrotcake #sheetcake #germanbuttercream
Brown Butter Carrot Sheet Cake is taken to the next level with a fluffy, whipped vanilla bean cream cheese german buttercream. This cake comes together super easily but is super delicious, and would make the perfect easter dessert. #brownbutter #carrotcake #sheetcake #germanbuttercream
Brown Butter Carrot Sheet Cake is taken to the next level with a fluffy, whipped vanilla bean cream cheese german buttercream. This cake comes together super easily but is super delicious, and would make the perfect easter dessert. #brownbutter #carrotcake #sheetcake #germanbuttercream
Brown Butter Carrot Sheet Cake is taken to the next level with a fluffy, whipped vanilla bean cream cheese german buttercream. This cake comes together super easily but is super delicious, and would make the perfect easter dessert. #brownbutter #carrotcake #sheetcake #germanbuttercream
Brown Butter Carrot Sheet Cake is taken to the next level with a fluffy, whipped vanilla bean cream cheese german buttercream. This cake comes together super easily but is super delicious, and would make the perfect easter dessert. #brownbutter #carrotcake #sheetcake #germanbuttercream
Brown Butter Carrot Sheet Cake is taken to the next level with a fluffy, whipped vanilla bean cream cheese german buttercream. This cake comes together super easily but is super delicious, and would make the perfect easter dessert. #brownbutter #carrotcake #sheetcake #germanbuttercream
Brown Butter Carrot Sheet Cake is taken to the next level with a fluffy, whipped vanilla bean cream cheese german buttercream. This cake comes together super easily but is super delicious, and would make the perfect easter dessert. #brownbutter #carrotcake #sheetcake #germanbuttercream

Can we take a quick wee sec to talk about how AMAZING sheet cakes are?! Nothing on regular layer cakes, I love them too, but sheet cakes are the perfect combo of fancy and laid back (I like to think of myself as that, dreams are free right?!). There’s no stacking required, but you can still use a fancy buttercream, and you get the best buttercream to cake ratio, in my opinion anyway. You can also frost them directly in the pan, which makes them the best for transporting. When I offer to take cake places, I often will make a sheet cake if it’s a bit more of a casual situation. I’ve had my fair share of cake disasters in an uber in the NYC summer, so a stress free transport is a huge bonus for me too. Plus, you get to live your best buttercream swooping life, which is one of my favourite things to do.

Today’s recipe is one that I am so excited to share with you - it’s a brown butter carrot sheet cake, with a vanilla bean cream cheese german buttercream. I’ve teamed up with my faves at Heilala Vanilla to bring it to you - their amazing vanilla bean paste is in both the cake, and in the dreamy frosting. Not only is their product great, but they are run by the most amazing people, who are doing all kinds of incredible things by injecting money into the economy and providing jobs in the Kingdom of Tonga - you can read a little more about what they do here. They control the whole process from the growing to the processing of the beans, which results in an extremely ethical, high quality, organic product. I am super proud to be partnering with them again.

I started with a pretty simple cake - a fairly standard carrot cake, but upped my game a little by replacing some of the oil with brown butter, and adding some cardamom in along with the other spices. Cakes with both butter and oil are my new fave. You get the moistness from the oil, in this case a neutral oil, but you also get the richness and flavour from the butter, giving you a total win win situation. In this case I browned the butter, which gives it the most incredible depth of flavour to the cake, and plays perfectly with the spices.

And now let’s talk about the buttercream. Ohhhh my, this buttercream. Another thing that I love about sheet cakes is that you can load them up with buttercream that might typically be too unstable to stack a cake with - like soft peaks of whipped cream, or in this case, a German buttercream with a whole load of cream cheese whipped into it. I love cream cheese frosting, but I am not a huge fan of how sweet and gritty it can be from the powdered sugar, so instead I whipped cream cheese into a vanilla bean German buttercream. If you’re new round here, German buttercream is my absolute fave. It is custard or pastry cream (same thing) based, rather than the meringue base of an Italian or Swiss, or powdered sugar base of an American buttercream. This gives it a whole dimension of flavour that the others lack - a beautiful richness, with the pastry cream cutting the butter just perfectly.

Because this cake didn’t have to stack, the buttercream was able to tolerate much more cream cheese than it usually would. The cream cheese gives it a beautiful tang, and sits so nicely with the vanilla, and against the subtle spice of the cake. It is also pillowy soft, and impossibly smooth, making it the perfect pair for the slightly denser nature of a carrot cake. I know I say this a lot about a lot of things, but this buttercream might be my favourite so far. It’s just perfect.

This cake would make the most perfect Easter baking project - I can’t wait to see you enjoy it. Happy Sheet Caking! x

A few wee tips:

  • Heilala have given me a discount code for you to use on vanilla! You can purchase it here, and the code CLOUDY20 will get you 20% off any of their products! I love the paste, the extract, and also the beans (Affiliate link).

  • Both the cake and the pastry cream need time to cool, so I like to make the pastry cream either the day before, or just before I start the cake, to give it plenty of time to cool. Putting it in a shallow dish to cool in the fridge helps too by increasing the surface area, meaning it cools a bit faster. Make sure your cream cheese and butter is also at room temp.

  • If you don’t like nuts in carrot cake, you can just leave them out!

  • If you haven’t made brown butter before, here is a great tutorial. Make sure that you allow it to cool a little before using in your recipe. I like pouring it into my stand mixer then leaving it to cool, swirling occasionally to help distribute some of the heat.

  • I took the cake out of the pan to add the buttercream, but you can absolutely frost it in the pan if you like. Frosting it in the pan is perfect for if you are transporting it, as it makes it super, super easy to carry, because the pan protects it.

 

 

Carrot Sheet Cake with Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese German Buttercream

- Makes one 9” x 13” sheet cake -

Carrot Sheet Cake
450g raw Sugar
160g neutral oil
115g butter, browned and cooled
4 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp Heilala Vanilla Bean Paste
150g all-purpose flour
150g whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp baking soda.
360g carrot, grated
100g walnuts, coarsely chopped

Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese German Buttercream
110g sugar
12g corn starch
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp Heilala Vanilla Bean Paste
190g whole milk
340g unsalted butter, at room temperature
225g cream cheese, at room temperature

 

- PROCESS -

CARROT SHEET CAKE

Preheat the oven to 350°f / 180°c. Grease a 9”x13” (22x33cm) baking pan, and line with parchment paper (I like to cut a piece slightly bigger than my pan, then cut a slit in each corner which form ‘tabs’ and allow you to fold the parchment into the corners nicely).

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the raw sugar, neutral oil, cooled brown butter, and eggs, and mix on medium speed until well combined and slightly lightened in colour, 2-3 minutes. Add the Heilala Vanilla Bean Paste and mix until combined.

In a medium bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and baking soda. Add to the mixer and mix until just combined. Add the carrots and walnuts and mix on low until just combined.

Transfer to the pan, and bake for 45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. 

VANILLA BEAN CREAM CHEESE GERMAN BUTTERCREAM

In a bowl, whisk together the sugar and corn starch, then add the egg, egg yolk and salt, and whisk together well. In a medium non-stick saucepan, heat the milk and Heilala Vanilla Bean Paste to just shy of a simmer. Remove from the heat.

Using one hand to whisk constantly, pour half of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture. This helps to temper the eggs and stop them from scrambling. Whisk until incorporated, and then pour the whole lot back into the saucepan. 

Heat the milk and egg mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it begins to bubble. It will thicken quickly. Once it has thickened, cook for one minute, then remove from the heat. Pour into a shallow dish or bowl of a stand mixer and press some plastic wrap over the surface to avoid a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cold. If you are in a hurry, you can speed up this process by placing the custard mixture into a bowl, and placing the bowl into an ice bath, stirring frequently.

Fit your mixer with the whisk attachment. Whip the custard mixture on medium until creamy and lump-free. Begin adding the butter, a few cubes at a time, until fully incorporated. Add in the cream cheese, and whip until smooth, then whip for a further 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy. Switch to the paddle attachment and beat on low for 3-4 minutes to help remove any big air bubbles.


ASSEMBLY

Carefully remove the cooled cake from the pan - I do this by turning it onto a wire rack, then using another wire rack with parchment paper on top to flip it up the right way - alternatively you can also put the buttercream on while it is still in the pan, which makes it super easy to transport.

Scrape the buttercream onto the cake, and spread using an offset spatula - swoop it on as desired.

Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature or the fridge.

Brown Butter Carrot Sheet Cake is taken to the next level with a fluffy, whipped vanilla bean cream cheese german buttercream. This cake comes together super easily but is super delicious, and would make the perfect easter dessert. #brownbutter #carrotcake #sheetcake #germanbuttercream

Thank you so much to Heilala Vanilla for sponsoring this post! All opinions are my own,.

Gingerbread Sheet Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting


 
Gingerbread Sheet Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting - a warming spiced cake, topped with a silky, maple, ream cheese frosting. A super simple yet delicious cake, perfect for feeding a crowd or for a quick holiday pick me up.
Gingerbread Sheet Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting - a warming spiced cake, topped with a silky, maple, ream cheese frosting. A super simple yet delicious cake, perfect for feeding a crowd or for a quick holiday pick me up.
Gingerbread Sheet Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting - a warming spiced cake, topped with a silky, maple, ream cheese frosting. A super simple yet delicious cake, perfect for feeding a crowd or for a quick holiday pick me up.
Gingerbread Sheet Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting - a warming spiced cake, topped with a silky, maple, ream cheese frosting. A super simple yet delicious cake, perfect for feeding a crowd or for a quick holiday pick me up.
Gingerbread Sheet Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting - a warming spiced cake, topped with a silky, maple, ream cheese frosting. A super simple yet delicious cake, perfect for feeding a crowd or for a quick holiday pick me up.
Gingerbread Sheet Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting - a warming spiced cake, topped with a silky, maple, ream cheese frosting. A super simple yet delicious cake, perfect for feeding a crowd or for a quick holiday pick me up.
Gingerbread Sheet Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting - a warming spiced cake, topped with a silky, maple, ream cheese frosting. A super simple yet delicious cake, perfect for feeding a crowd or for a quick holiday pick me up.

Merry belated Christmas! I hope you all celebrated (if you do), with those you love, surrounded by loads of food. We had a super chill Christmas with Jill and her family, which was just what we needed. I always struggle a little with homesickness, especially around the holidays, so it’s always so nice to have people who are like family to spend it with.

I had planned to take between Christmas and New Year off, kicking off again once we are in 2019, but I remembered this morning that I was meant to share this recipe for Gingerbread Sheet Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting before Christmas, and life got in the way, so here we are now!

I know people think of Gingerbread as a holiday recipe, but as far as I am concerned, it should be a year round flavour. The recipe for the Gingerbread sheet cake comes from my good friend Brooke Bell’s book, “Cake: Layered, Frosted, Sliced and Shared”. The book is filled with cakes for every occasion, from a jazzed up box mix to more complex layer cakes. The recipe for this Gingerbread sheet cake jumped out at me - it is super simple to make, but still incredibly delicious, filled with warming spices, keeps well, and perfect for feeding a crowd. It would be perfect just with a little dust of powdered sugar, but I had some cream cheese that needed using up, so made a quick maple cream cheese frosting, which fancied it up just a tiny bit - definitely not totally necessary, but very, very delicious. This cake is perfect to help us bridge the weird gap between Christmas and New Years.

A few wee tips:

  • This cake is amazing just with a quick dusting of powdered sugar, so if you aren’t in the mood for frosting, feel free to skip it.

  • This cake keeps beautifully in an airtight container - perfect for if you have people drop by.

  • I love sheet cakes because they transport super well - provided you have a parchment paper sling in the baking pan, you can frost it right in the pan and serve from there.

  • You can either make this in a bowl with a whisk or electric hand mixer, or your stand mixer - I did it in my stand mixer because I am lazy, and it worked just as well!

 

 

Gingerbread Sheet Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

- Makes one 9” x 13” cake - serves 12-16 -

Cake recipe reprinted with permission from “Cake: Layered, Frosted, Sliced and Shared”.

Gingerbread Sheet Cake
320g (2 1/4 cups) All-Purpose Flour
200g (1 cup) Granulated Sugar
1 Tbsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice
300g (1 1/4 cups) whole milk
170g (1/2 cup) unsulphured molasses
90g (6 Tbsp) Canola oil
2 large eggs

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
170g unsalted butter, at room temperature
335g cream cheese, cold from the fridge
670g icing sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/4 tsp salt
80g maple syrup

 

- PROCESS -

GINGERBREAD SHEET CAKE

Preheat the oven to 350°f / 180°c. Spray a 9” x 13” baking dish with baking spray, or grease with butter. Line with a parchment paper sling.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, or a large bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and allspice. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture; add milk, molasses, oil, and eggs. Beat with a mixer at low speed until combined, about 1 minutes. Pour batter into prepared pan. Tap pan on counter twice to release air bubbles.

Bake until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 28 minutes. Let cool completely in pan. Dust with icing sugar, or frost with maple cream cheese frosting (recipe follows)

MAPLE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl, cream together the butter and cream cheese on high until pale and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add icing sugar, vanilla bean paste and salt, and mix on low to combine. Turn the mixer to high and beat for another 3-4 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add maple syrup, and beat until well combined.

Scrape the frosting onto the cake, and spread with an offset spatula. Sprinkle with cinnamon if desired.

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.

Gingerbread Sheet Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting - a warming spiced cake, topped with a silky, maple, ream cheese frosting. A super simple yet delicious cake, perfect for feeding a crowd or for a quick holiday pick me up.

“Cake: Layered, Frosted, Sliced and Shared” was written by Brooke Bell, and is Copyright 2018 83 Press.

Banana Sheet Cake with Whipped Dark Chocolate Ganache


 
Banana Sheet Cake with Whipped Dark Chocolate Ganache. A little bit fancy but perfect for a crowd, this banana sheet cake will be your secret dessert weapon! #bananacake #sheetcake #chocolateganache #chocolatefrosting
Banana Sheet Cake with Whipped Dark Chocolate Ganache. A little bit fancy but perfect for a crowd, this banana sheet cake will be your secret dessert weapon! #bananacake #sheetcake #chocolateganache #chocolatefrosting
Banana Sheet Cake with Whipped Dark Chocolate Ganache. A little bit fancy but perfect for a crowd, this banana sheet cake will be your secret dessert weapon! #bananacake #sheetcake #chocolateganache #chocolatefrosting
Banana Sheet Cake with Whipped Dark Chocolate Ganache. A little bit fancy but perfect for a crowd, this banana sheet cake will be your secret dessert weapon! #bananacake #sheetcake #chocolateganache #chocolatefrosting
Banana Sheet Cake with Whipped Dark Chocolate Ganache. A little bit fancy but perfect for a crowd, this banana sheet cake will be your secret dessert weapon! #bananacake #sheetcake #chocolateganache #chocolatefrosting
Banana Sheet Cake with Whipped Dark Chocolate Ganache. A little bit fancy but perfect for a crowd, this banana sheet cake will be your secret dessert weapon! #bananacake #sheetcake #chocolateganache #chocolatefrosting
Banana Sheet Cake with Whipped Dark Chocolate Ganache. A little bit fancy but perfect for a crowd, this banana sheet cake will be your secret dessert weapon! #bananacake #sheetcake #chocolateganache #chocolatefrosting
Banana Sheet Cake with Whipped Dark Chocolate Ganache. A little bit fancy but perfect for a crowd, this banana sheet cake will be your secret dessert weapon! #bananacake #sheetcake #chocolateganache #chocolatefrosting

There are very few things I would change about my Husband Rich. He's the consistent to my rollercoaster moods, the calm to my crazy. But he has horrific taste in frosting. Unless it's what we call "shitty chocolate icing" (I've since managed to at least get him to agree to a chocolate american buttercream), he doesn't want anything to do with it. He will scrape the buttercream off cakes, chop it off the top of cupcakes, or just flat out refuse anything involving swiss meringue buttercream. Last weekend I was taking a cake for a friends birthday and he asked if he could BRING HIS OWN FROSTING. And as much as I try to not let it bug me, I always get a little bummed out when he scrapes frosting off or eats around it. My theory is that the fancier it is, the longer it took me, or the more components it has, the higher the chances are of him not liking it. Banana bread? He will eat a whole loaf in a day. Multi component choux buns? He's gonna ask me to leave him some unfilled so he can eat them plain. Luckily I have loads of friends who aren't as basic in baking preferences as Rich, but I always have to remind myself when presenting him with something that's taken me ages or is super intricate, that he's probably not going to like it because he's a monster. Is it just me? Or does this happen to other people too?

I did however manage to sneak this banana sheet cake with whipped dark chocolate ganache past him the other day. Granted, he did request an american buttercream when I made it for him for his birthday, but at least this one didn't get scraped off (I don't know what's wrong with him, honestly, because the ganache is the best part). Banana cake is a huge favourite around our house, probably because it's just banana bread in a different form. 

The cake itself is super super easy, and all I have done is fancied it up a little with a whipped dark chocolate ganache. The ganache is dark and rich, and balances the sweet, moist cake. Feel free to add a different buttercream to this (Rich recommends a double batch of this one, but a dark chocolate swiss meringue situation would also be amazing), but I do encourage you to give the ganache a go. It's worth it. 

A few wee tips:

  • The Ganache does need some time to firm up in the fridge - you want to give it a little time on the bench first to reduce the condensation when you put on the plastic wrap. I like to let it firm up, stirring occasionally, until it is thick and fudgy, and then whip it - It usually needs about half an hour on the bench and then another 60-90 minutes in the fridge.

  • If you have another mixing bowl that would be great for this, alternatively I like to get the cake in the oven, and then wash out my mixer bowl, and make the ganache directly in it, so when it comes time to whip it, it's already in the right bowl.

  • If you let your ganache sit a little too long and it gets too firm, then as you are whipping it, take a little out, heat up in the microwave until soft and slightly warm, then add to the cold mixture. Mix it in, and repeat if needed to make the ganache the right consistency.

 

 

Banana Sheet Cake with Whipped Dark Chocolate Ganache

- Makes one 9" x 13" cake, serves about 12-18 people depending on slice size -

Banana Cake
250g (2 1/4 sticks/8.8oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
350g (1 3/4 cups) sugar
4 eggs
4 ripe bananas, mashed
2 tsp (8grams) baking soda
60ml (1/4 cup) milk
500g (4 cups) All-purpose flour
2 tsp (8 grams) baking powder

Whipped Dark Chocolate Ganache
600g good quality dark chocolate, finely chopped
400g heavy cream
pinch salt

Chocolate Pearls and flaky sea salt to finish, optional

- PROCESS -

BANANA CAKE

Preheat the oven to 350f/180c. Grease a 9" x 13" pan.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a bowl with an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add bananas and beat until incorporated. Add eggs one at a time, ensuring bowl is well scraped down and mixture is well combined. 

Heat milk in the microwave, or a small pan until boiling. Add baking soda to milk, and add to the mix, mixing until well combined. 

Sift flour and baking powder, and add to the mixture. Mix briefly until just combined. Scrape into the prepared pan, and bake 30-45 minutes until lightly golden, and a tester inserted in the middle of a cake comes out clean. If you don't mind the cake being a little more dense, you can also place a clean tea towel over the cake soon after it comes out of the oven and press down gently to help lessen the dome. Allow to cool completely. 

 

WHIPPED CHOCOLATE GANACHE

Place the chocolate in the bowl of a stand mixer or heatproof bowl. Place the cream in a small pan, and place over low heat until just boiling. Pour over the chopped chocolate, add the salt, then cover the bowl with a plate. Let sit for 5 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Let the ganache sit on the counter for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, then carefully cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the fridge, and leave for 60-90 minutes, checking occasionally, until a scoopable consistency. Place the mixing bowl on the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and mix on medium speed until whipped.

ASSEMBLY

Dump the ganache onto the cooled cake, spread with an offset spatula, and sprinkle with chocolate pearls and flaky sea salt. Slice into squares to serve. Store leftovers in an airtight container. 

Banana Sheet Cake with Whipped Dark Chocolate Ganache. A little bit fancy but perfect for a crowd, this banana sheet cake will be your secret dessert weapon! #bananacake #sheetcake #chocolateganache #chocolatefrosting