Back in 2013 I discovered that my family's carrot cake is perhaps even better when made with beets. The Benevolent Overlord thinks there is no reason to ever make carrot cake again unless made with beets. I have been hankering for a slice of beet cake, but given a desire to eat healthier, above all smaller portions and less sugars, I was not going to make a cake and have it hanging around the house. Bad idea. Bad. Luckily, the beginning of the semester came to the rescue: the Labor Day Departmental Pot Luck!
I love cream cheese icing, but decided I needed to jazz it up somehow. While the cake baked and cooled I did some happy Internet searching, and settled on a Honey Ginger Buttercream Frosting from GroupRecipes.com as the filling layer. As you can see I slathered it on nice and thick.
For the actual icing that I would use to ice and decorate the cake, I went with Wilton's Cream Cheese Icing. Instead of the orange juice I used ginger liquor, and instead of the grated orange peel I used dried ginger - grated ginger would clog the icing tips. An issue I had was the icing was highly volatile and softened much quicker than usual, even given the temperature or the room. As The Benevolent Overlord pointed out, alcohol has properties that will soften butter. Note to self - ginger liquor gave a fabulous flavor, but makes icing harder.
Carrot cake is very crumbly, so I started with a thin layer of icing just to seal in the crumbs:
I edged the cake with a cheerful yellow basket weave - always fun to do! - and topped it with beets:
The color is obviously off, but here's a close-up of the beets:
I am particularly pleased with the beet tops. And you know, the beets I peeled for this cake did have a bumpy look, even if not quite so "dog turdy" in appearance as these. While doing the veins in the leaves, I managed to brush the piping at the top of the basket weave, which was already compromised by the heat/alcohol. There was no saving the edge without mussing it up, so I added a helpful caption in case someone was wondering what kind of cake it is:
Hah! The hosting professor's daughter was quite fascinated with how I got my elbow in the cake, so I got a story out of it as well.
Over all, it was a truly delicious cake, even if I do say so myself. The beets and the ginger married beautifully, and everyone liked it. We got to take leftovers home, so we ended up having only two pieces, which is plenty. Yes, we had it for breakfast the next day. Decadent!
And here's the full view:
I will definitely make this combo again, and am glad I discovered the ginger icing!
Wilton's Cream Cheese Icing (with orange)