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,.

Carrot cake with cream cheese icing


 
Carrot Cake with cream cheese icing that is super easy to pipe. The cake is moist and flavourful, and the icing has the perfect amount of sweetness and cream cheese punch.
Carrot Cake with cream cheese icing that is super easy to pipe. The cake is moist and flavourful, and the icing has the perfect amount of sweetness and cream cheese punch.
Carrot Cake with cream cheese icing that is super easy to pipe. The cake is moist and flavourful, and the icing has the perfect amount of sweetness and cream cheese punch.
Carrot Cake with cream cheese icing that is super easy to pipe. The cake is moist and flavourful, and the icing has the perfect amount of sweetness and cream cheese punch.
Carrot Cake with cream cheese icing that is super easy to pipe. The cake is moist and flavourful, and the icing has the perfect amount of sweetness and cream cheese punch.
Carrot Cake with cream cheese icing that is super easy to pipe. The cake is moist and flavourful, and the icing has the perfect amount of sweetness and cream cheese punch.
Carrot Cake with cream cheese icing that is super easy to pipe. The cake is moist and flavourful, and the icing has the perfect amount of sweetness and cream cheese punch.
Carrot Cake with cream cheese icing that is super easy to pipe. The cake is moist and flavourful, and the icing has the perfect amount of sweetness and cream cheese punch.
Carrot Cake with cream cheese icing that is super easy to pipe. The cake is moist and flavourful, and the icing has the perfect amount of sweetness and cream cheese punch.
Carrot Cake with cream cheese icing that is super easy to pipe. The cake is moist and flavourful, and the icing has the perfect amount of sweetness and cream cheese punch.
Carrot Cake with cream cheese icing that is super easy to pipe. The cake is moist and flavourful, and the icing has the perfect amount of sweetness and cream cheese punch.
Carrot Cake with cream cheese icing that is super easy to pipe. The cake is moist and flavourful, and the icing has the perfect amount of sweetness and cream cheese punch.
Carrot Cake with cream cheese icing that is super easy to pipe. The cake is moist and flavourful, and the icing has the perfect amount of sweetness and cream cheese punch.

Easter weekend!! We don't really have a huge amount planned - work as usual! We are meant to be getting some foster kittens tomorrow (!!), but they have cancelled on us so many times that I'm not letting myself get excited until they are actually here. Aside from that we might make a few photography surfaces - we are having a surface making weekend soonish with some friends, so Rich and I just want to have a sneaky wee practice first to make sure there aren't any big hurdles that we haven't thought about before we get to the real deal!

I did however make a carrot cake yesterday, which to me is the perfect easter cake! (I'm not sure why though, maybe because rabbits eat carrots? Who knows). I just went with my standard carrot cake recipe, baked into 3 six inch tins. The thing that I really like about this recipe is that it bakes very flat, so there is minimal leveling to be done once it comes to stacking time!

I also had a play around with some cream cheese icing recipes. In the past my cream cheese icing has been super floppy and soft (yummmmmm  hahah), which makes it hopeless when it comes to piping and transportation. However if you add too much butter or sugar, it loses that punchy cream cheese flavour and you end up with something that tastes more like American Buttercream. So I made three different batches, each with different ratios of cream cheese : butter : icing sugar, and I think I managed to come up with a happy medium! This recipe still has a cream cheese taste, isn't too sweet or grainy, and sets up nicely in the fridge. It also pipes well, which to me is a huge win. 

I was originally going to decorate this with a few blobs here and there, but once I got started I realised that it was far too fun piping the blobs, and I had icing to use up, so I went for it! Mini eggs somehow made their way on there too at some point. This method of decoration is super easy and crazy effective - I just filled four piping bags with different coloured buttercream. Each was fitted with a different size french piping tip, and from there I just piped blobs all over the cake, adding in mini eggs here and there! I used an ateco 866 tip, and three wilton tips - the 32, 4b, and 21, but you could really use any size here, these were just the ones that I pulled out of my decorating box first! You can't go wrong with this decorating method - it's a great way to use up excess buttercream, you don't have to worry too much about a super smooth under coat, and it would be a fun project to make with kids! Plus. Carrot cake and cream cheese. Can't go wrong really. 

A few wee things: 

  • I made this in 3 6-inch cake tins. I totally understand that not everyone will have these, so you could also make it in two 8-inch tins, or just do it all in one 10-inch tin and slice it in half before filling! Just ensure that you adjust the cooking time accordingly if you make it in a larger tin - approx 45 minutes for 8-inch tins, and 50-60 minutes for a 10-inch. Check it with a skewer in the centre of the cake - you want it to come out clean.
  • The blobs use up a fair amount of buttercream. If you were just wanting to do a standard carrot cake with cream cheese icing and not have the blobs, I have included two quantities of ingredients down below. It would also look nice with just a super rustic coat of icing, and topped with some easter eggs. 
  • I found that the trick to a nice firm cream cheese icing which was best for piping was to use cold cream cheese, and butter that is only just at room temperature, to make sure that it stays nice and firm. I also popped it in the fridge while I was waiting for the crumb coat of the cake to chill down, and just gave it a good stir before using it again. If at any time you find it is getting too soft, just return it to the fridge for 10-15 minutes. The icing in the piping bags was at room temp for well over two hours, along with being handled, and still held its shape well though, so you should be fine!
 

 

Carrot cake with cream cheese icing
- Makes one six inch, three layered cake -

Carrot Cake recipe from Annabel Langbein

Carrot Cake
2 cups (500g) raw sugar
1 cup (250ml) neutral oil such as canola
4 eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (140g) wholemeal flour
1 cup (140g) all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground ginger
3 cups (360g, approx 3 medium carrots) grated carrot

Cream cheese Icing

Quantities needed for decorating without "blobs"
225g (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature for 30 minutes
450g (16oz) full-fat cream cheese, cold
900g (7 1/4 cups, 2 lbs) Icing sugar
Juice of one Lemon

Quantities needed if decorating with "blobs"
340g (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature for 30 minutes
675g (24oz) full-fat cream cheese, cold
1.35kg (10 3/4 cups, 3 lbs) icing sugar
Juice of 1 1/2 lemons

To decorate
Mini eggs or other easter eggs (optional)

 

 

- PROCESS -

CARROT CAKE

Preheat the oven to 350˚f / 180˚c. Grease and flour 3 6-inch cake tins. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer or with an electric beater, mix together the sugar, eggs and oil until well combined. Sift in the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices, and mix on low for 1-2 minutes until combined. Add carrot, and mix well.

Divide the mixture between the three tins. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the centre of the cake bounces back when lightly pressed, and a skewer comes out clean. Cool in the cake tins for 15 minutes, then turn onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely. If you are making ahead, wrap well in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

CREAM CHEESE ICING

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, and mix on low to combine. Turn the mixer to high and beat for another 3-4 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add lemon juice and beat until well combined. Store in the fridge until ready to use, and either beat again with a mixer, or mix well with a spatula before using.

ASSEMBLY

Level cakes if necessary. Place the first layer of cake on a rotating cake turntable or cake stand. Spread with a layer of cream cheese icing, and smooth down with an offset spatula. Repeat with the next two layers. Spread icing evenly over the top and sides of the cake using an offset spatula, smoothing the top first, then the sides with a bench or icing scraper. Level off the top using the edge of the scraper, or an offset spatula. Ensure that the cake is evenly coated with a smooth layer of icing. Place in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes. 

Divide the remaining buttercream between four bowls. Using a small amount of gel food colouring, tint the buttercream your desired colours, leaving one white. Place into four piping bags, fitted with different sized french piping tips. 

Pipe 'blobs' of buttercream over the surface of the cake - start with a few big blobs of one colour, and then go in with each colour to fill in the gaps. Continue until the sides and top of the cake are covered. Add easter eggs where you see fit. 

Rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving.

Carrot Cake with cream cheese icing that is super easy to pipe. The cake is moist and flavourful, and the icing has the perfect amount of sweetness and cream cheese punch.