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Carrot Apricot Cake - carrot ginger cake layers with white chocolate buttercream, apricot filling and a pretzel crunch #cakebycourtney #carrotcake #whitechocolatebuttercream #cake #eastercake #carrotcakeforeaster #easterdessert

Carrot Apricot Cake

Carrot cake layers with an apricot compote, a white chocolate pretzel filling, and white chocolate buttercream.

Ingredients

FOR THE CAKE (adapted from Sweetapolita)

  • 5 cups (420 g) grated carrots
  • 2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (315 g) all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp (12 g) baking powder
  • 1 tsp (4 g) baking soda
  • 1 tsp (5.6 g) salt
  • 1 tsp (2.6 g) ground ginger
  • 1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 g) granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 tsp (4.2 g) vanilla
  • 2/3 cup (160 g) buttermilk at room temperature

FOR THE WHITE CHOCOLATE PRETZEL FILLING (adapted from Milk Bar)

  • 1/2 cup milk powder
  • 1/4 cup (30 g) crushed pretzels I pulverized mine in my magic bullet
  • 2 tablespoons (16.9 g) cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons (25 g) sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.8 g) kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons (56.5 g) butter melted
  • 1/4 cup milk powder
  • 3 ounces white chocolate melted
  • I suggest doubling the filling to snack on!

FOR THE APRICOT COMPOTE

  • 2 cans apricots drained or 2 cups fresh apricots, diced
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
  • 2 teaspoons (16.8 g) cornstarch sifted

FOR THE BUTTERCREAM

  • 2 cups (452 g) unsalted butter slightly chilled
  • 5 ounces white chocolate melted
  • 5 1/2 cups (687.5 g) powdered sugar measured and then sifted
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup (57.75 g) heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoons (4.2 g) pure vanilla extract
  • *This buttercream recipe makes enough to fill and cover your cake. If you want to add additional piping, you’ll want to make an extra 1/2 batch.

Instructions

FOR THE CAKE

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray each of the three 8-inch or four 6-inch cake pans with nonstick spray, line the bottoms with parchment paper and spray again. Set aside.

  2. Grate the carrots using a food processor. Measure out 5 cups.

  3. In a medium size mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and ginger. Stir until blended. 
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and beat on medium for about 3 minutes. 
  5. Beat in the eggs, followed by the vanilla. (Don't worry if it seems curdled).
  6. With the mixer on low, gradually add about one third of the flour mixture. Beat until just mixed, followed by half the milk. Repeat additions, ending with the flour. Stir in the carrots.
  7. Divide batter between pans, about 16 to 17 ounces of batter in each 8-inch or 12 ounces in each 6-inch pan. Spread as evenly as possible to the side of the pans.

  8. Bake for about 23 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out with just a few moist crumbs on it. 
  9. Let the cakes cool for about 10 minutes in their pans before inverting onto wire racks to cool completely.
  10. Can be decorated once cooled completely, or to store them for up to a week, wrap each layer in plastic wrap and freeze. Before frosting the frozen cake layers, take them out of the fridge about an hour beforehand so the layers aren't too cold (which will harden your frosting as you start to decorate).

FOR THE WHITE CHOCOLATE PRETZEL FILLING

  1. Heat the oven to 250 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, combine 1/2 cup milk powder, pretzel crumbs, cornstarch, sugar and salt. Toss with your hands to mix. Add the melted butter and toss, using a spatula or spoon, until the mixture starts to come together and form small clusters.
  3. Spread the clusters on a parchment lined sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes. The crumbs should be sandy at that point. Cool the crumbs completely.
  4. Crumble any clusters that are larger than 1/2 inch in diameter, and put the crumbs back in the medium bowl. Add the 1/4 cup milk powder and toss together until it is evenly distributed throughout the mixture.
  5. Pour the white chocolate over the crumbs and toss until your clusters are covered. Then continue tossing them every five minutes until the white chocolate hardens and the clusters are no longer sticky. The crumbs will keep in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer for up to 1 month.

FOR THE APRICOT COMPOTE

  1. Combine the apricots and sugar in a small saucepan. Stir occasionally while the mixture comes to a boil. Once the mixture boils, turn the heat to low and let it simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the sifted cornstarch and stir until well blended. 
  2. Pour the mixture into a blender and puree. 
  3. Let cool completely before using in the cake. 
  4. Best to make the compote a day or more ahead of time and store in an airtight container in the fridge.

FOR THE BUTTERCREAM

  1. In a microwave safe bowl, heat the cream and then pour it over the white chocolate to melt. Stir until the mixture is smooth and silky. If needed heat the mixture for another 20 to 30 seconds and stir until the chips are melted. Set aside.

  2. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium-high speed for about two minutes.
  3. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the sifted powdered sugar until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue to mix for another minute.
  4. Slowly add the warm white chocolate while mixing on medium-low speed.

  5. Add the vanilla and increase the speed to medium-high and beat the frosting for five minutes, until light in color and texture. 

  6. Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a wooden spoon and mix by hand to stir out the air bubbles. emove the bowl from the mixer and use a wooden spoon and mix by hand to stir out the air bubbles.

ASSEMBLY

  1. Level each cake layer with a knife or cake leveler, if needed.
  2. Place your first cake layer, right-side up, on a cake plate or cake board. Cover the cake layer with a thin layer of frosting, allowing some of the frosting to go over the edge of the cake, and then pipe a rim around the cake to act as a barrier to the apricot compote.
  3. Pour and spread about 1/4 to 1/2 cup compote over the cake layer. Cover with the white chocolate pretzel "crack" filling. 
  4. Repeat step 2 and 3 for the second layer, and then place the final cake layer on top, top side down. Frost the entire cake with a thin coat of frosting to lock in the crumbs. Freeze the crumb coat for 10 to 15 minutes. 
  5. After the crumb coat is chilled, continue frosting the cake.