Don’t you just love birthdays? Even someone else’s birthday. Actually especially someone else’s birthday. I know everyone says this and doesn’t really mean it, but truly I love giving presents way more than receiving them. More than that, I love to make someone feel special. I love the thrill of planning little surprises to catch them off guard or keep them guessing. I love to make people smile.
That must be why I love to bake so much. It’s got to be one of the best ways to make people instantly happy. How can you not smile when you bite into a freshly baked Lemon Blueberry Streusel Muffin, a chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie or a Hazelnut Brown Butter Cupcake? Ok well maybe you wouldn’t smile as you bite into it. That would be messy. But after there would be a definite smile cracking those crumbly lips.
I also love that mumbling cacophony of off beat voices when you get to that certain part the birthday song where everyone says something a little different. Happy birthday dear… It gets me giggling every time.
But I digress.
It was Lee’s birthday last Monday and I wanted to make him something he would love. Carrot Cake is his favourite so that was a clear winner, but I was itching to do something a little different, something more. He was telling me recently about birthdays from his childhood and these Jeanne’s Bakery cakes from Winnipeg. Apparently they have a Shortbread cookie layer on the bottom so that got me thinking. Carrot Cake with a Snickerdoodle Cookie Crust and Cream Cheese Icing. Yes. That’s the ticket. Because my favourite person deserves only the best.
Lee’s Carrot Cake
Source: Adapted from my family recipe.
Snickerdoodle Cookie Crust:
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Cream Cheese Icing:
1 250g pkg cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup unsalted butter, Room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 – 5 cup powdered sugar, sifted
2 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
I tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
I tsp cinnamon
4 eggs, room temperature
1 cup oil
2 cup granulated sugar
3 cup grated raw carrots (5 medium carrots)
To Make the Snickerdoodle Cookie Crust:
Note: This recipe is a quarter of my original Snickerdoodle Cookies recipe. I halved it when I made it and realized it was still a bit thick so I halved it again to give you a thinner version.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and position a rack in the center. Spray a 9 inch round cake pan with cooking spray and line the bottom with a round sheet of parchment paper then spray that as well.
In a small bowl whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt.
In a separate bowl with an electric mixer cream together the butter, sugar and egg. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and blend it well.
Combine the cinnamon and 1 tsp sugar then sprinkle half a into the prepared cake pan then. Scoop the cookie dough carefully over top then smooth it out with your fingers. Sprinkle the remaining sugar and cinnamon mixture on the top. Bake it for about 10 minutes until it becomes light golden brown. Let it cool in the pan for 10 – 15 minutes then carefully flip it out onto a cooling rack. Make sure to remove the parchment paper before assembling the cake.
To Make the Cream Cheese Icing:
Note: Make the icing first to allow it to set up nicely in the refrigerator.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla until it’s light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and mix until it’s smooth and your desired consistency. Refrigerate the icing at least 30 minutes before using it.
To Make the Carrot Cake:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and place a rack in the middle. Butter and flour two 9 inch round cake pans and set them aside.
In a medium sized bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In a large bowl using an electric mixer beat the eggs, oil and sugar. Blend in the dry ingredients then fold in the grated carrots.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans and bake them for about 30 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let the two cakes cool in their pans for at least 15 – 20 minutes before you flip them out onto the cooling rack to cool completely.
Assembling the Cake:
Place your Snickerdoodle Cookie Crust on your serving plate and spread a thin layer of Cream Cheese Icing. Next position your first completely cooled layer of Carrot Cake and spread a thick layer of Cream Cheese Icing. Place the finial layer on top and evenly frost the cake with the remaining icing. Enjoy!