UW-Platteville Carrot Cake Recreated...

My wife and I are both alumni of UW-Platteville. The university run food service there makes a carrot cake that is, to say the least decadent. My wife has dreams about this cake. Well, recently I was cleaning out one of the last boxes from moving and stumbled upon the recipe. You see, the food service was good about giving out the recipes and would even calculate out the amounts for making a "normal" batch. So, for my wife's birthday, I decided to try and recreate it with my own little tweeks.

The changes I made to the recipe have more to do with the method. In Alton Brown's book about baking "I'm Just Here for More Food", he makes the observation that carrot cake is not cake but a form of muffin. Thus, I applied Alton's "muffin method" to the recipe. I also added yellow rasins, because carrot cake needs some type of rasin. Because my wife loves the icing, I also split each layer so there would be four layers to allow for more icing delivery.

Mark's 4 layer UW-P Carrot Cake

Dry Works

2 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 3/4 tsp baking soda
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
2 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Wet Works

1 1/4 cups canola oil
5 eggs
1 3/4 cups + 2 tbs granulated sugar


2 1/2 cups carrots (freshly grated)
1 cup crushed pineapple with juice
1/2 cup pecan nut pieces
1/2 cup yellow raisins

Before starting, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two 9" round or 8" square cake pans by lining the bottom with parchment paper and coat with oil and flour (or Pam for Baking).

In a mixing bowl, combine the dry works. In a second, larger bowl, combine the wet works and whisk until well mixed. Add the carrots and crushed pineapple to the wet works and mix well with spatual. Add the pecans, yellow raisins and dry works and mix with spatual just enough to bring everything together. Divide the batter between the two pans and even out the tops with a spatual.

Place in oven and bake for approximatly 45 minutes. After 25 minutes, rotate the pans in the oven so the cake bakes evenly. Cake is done when toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for 20 minutes to allow the cake to set up. Using a thin knife, loosen the cake from the sides of the pans and then turn out onto cooling racks to prevent condensation from building up. Cover with a kitchen towel and let cool until cake comes to room temperature. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before icing.


16 oz cream cheese at room temperature
1 cup butter at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
6 cup powdered sugar

In a stand mixer, beat together cream cheese, butter and vanilla. Once combined, set the speed of the mixer to low and begin adding powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Once the sugar has been added, scrape down the sides of the bowl one last time to ensure the icing is well mixed.

Remove cake layers from refrigerator and using a thin serrated knife, split each layer by cutting in from the edge and slowly rotating the cake. The effect is a bit like spiraling into the center of the layer from the side. A cake makers knife would be ideal for this process but one of the blades from a electric carving knife also works (and is not a unitasker). When you are done, use a cookie sheet to remove the top half of the cake layer. Do this by gently sliding the cookie sheet into the knife cut and pushing the top half onto the cookie sheet. Repeat the process with the other cake layer. When done, you should end up with 4 cake layers about about 1" thick.

Begin icing by placing one layer, cut side down onto a plate or aluminum foil covered piece of cardboard. Spread some of the icing on the layer. Place another layer of cake, again cut side down, on top of the first. Repeat with icing and then another layer and so on. Once the layers are stacked, ice the outside of the cake with the remaining frosting.

Cake serves approximately 20 people without causing diabetic shock. Leftover cake can be frozen by cutting into 2 serving pieces and wrapping them in wax paper, aluminum foil and then a freezer bag. May be stored for up to 3 months.


This weekends bread

This weekend, I got back into the bread making grove with some Cranberry-Pecan Cinnamon bread and another attempt at Pain de Mie. Both turned out much better now that I am back to using the King Arthur flour. Tried using the bread flour from Sam's Club but the cost savings was not worth the hassle.

I also attempted what I will call "Borkovetz Rye". This is an attempt to recreate the rye bread my great grandmother and grandmother use to make. I could never get the original recipe to turn out. Firstly it called for cake yeast which is hard to find and most of the measurements were approximate and thus dependent on that secret knowledge of my ancestors.

So, I started with Peter Rheinhart's rye recipe and tweeked it a little by adding the flavor combinations that the original recipe had. As a first attempt, it turned out pretty well. The flavor and texture is about where it should be. I made it with yogurt like the other rye I make but I think next time I will try it with butter milk. I think that will give it the right "sour" taste that is missing from this try. I will post the recipe when I get it finalized.

Now if only I had some liverwurst for on the rye bread...the evening would be complete.


Christmas Tree

Well, the holidays are over. Thought I would post some pictures of the tree Lou did this year. It was inspired by our trip to Prague.

Project complete...

This weekend I put the finishing touches on the workbench I have been building. The tops have a 1/4" tempered hardboard top that can be easily replaced. I also got a 7" wood vice from Woodcraft and mounted that. In general I am pretty happy with the design. It has lots of storage and the built in electrical is working out well. Now on to the list of furniture projects...