The best way to describe this cake is by relating the conversation I had with my cab driver:
Cabbie: “Is that…is that a baby Halloween?”
Me: “I’m sorry?”
Cabbie: “Like, is it, um…is it both a baby and a Halloween cake?”
Me: “Why yes. Yes it is.”
It all started when my coworker, Denny, decided that he was going to devote his life to the love, and celebration of, Halloween. Then he decided he wanted to be a dad and combine his love of both with a ghost- and goblin-themed nursery. And then he chose to quit his job as my official office bestie to move to more non-profit pastures. Or, you know, something like that.
An editorial sketch for the editorial dream team
So what better way to say goodbye then with a combo daddy shower cake/Halloween cake? And sure, it’s creepy as hell, but after 4 1/2 years of finding fake spiders dangling in front of my face and rubber rats under my chair, I thought it was only fair to return the favor by mildly implying that his spooky baby is soon-to-be devoured by flesh-eating spiders.
Who’s laughing now?! [Mumbles to herself while crying in utter isolation in the large editorial office]
The cake was going to be red velvet, until I actually bothered to find out what Denny’s favorite kind of cake was, which turned out to be carrot. What’s different about this carrot cake is that the carrots are cooked and puréed instead of shredded. The frosting is maple cream cheese [recipes below].
So good luck out there, #2. When I meet your little one I promise not to let him watch The Shining until he’s at least potty trained 😉
- Blender or food processor
- Stand or electric mixer
- 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 Tbl. baking soda
- 1 Tbl. cinnamon
- 1 1/2 cups corn oil [*Note: You can go veggie, but corn goes better with the flavoring for this cake]
- 4 eggs
- 1 Tbl. vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups finely diced/minced walnuts
- 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
- 2 lbs. carrots [I used baby carrots]
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 cups crushed and drained pineapple
[*Note: You can do this first step the night before] Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the carrots and cover, cooking approximately 20 min. until carrots are tender. Drain carrots and turn off heat, leaving enough water in the bottom of the pot to cover the surface. Add the 1/2 cup butter and 2/3 cup brown sugar, putting the heat back on low if the butter doesn’t melt all the way. Stir. Place carrots back in the pot and let soak, covered and stirring a couple of times, about 20 min. Put carrots in a large blender or food processor and purée [you might need to do this in 2 batches, and if the carrots need more liquid to purée effectively, add a bit of the butter/sugar mix from the pot]. Ideally, you’ll want to have about 2 2/3 cups of purée.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease, flour, and parchment-line the bottom of your pans.
Mix together all of the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and sugar. Add oil, eggs and vanilla, and beat well, scraping the sides of the bowl a couple of times. [*Note: The “batter” will be extremely thick at this point. This is normal and will moisten when the other ingredients are added]
Fold in the carrots, pineapple, coconut, and walnuts. Divide the batter evenly between the pans. Smooth the batter level. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or just until the tops are springy or a cake tester comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their pans on a rack for 10 minutes. Then invert onto racks.
The centerpiece was this baby, made out of gum paste. There’s a mold you can find online by First Impressions called Small Baby 1. You can find it here. You can also watch videos on how to make this baby with your mold here [part 1] and here [part 2]. I put a little diaper on him because, well, it’s the office.
Also in focus was the black baby pram, which you can learn how to make here.