The recipe called for making the cake in 2 9" pie pans but I only had 8" ones. It turned out well because I was able to use some of the leftover batter to make 5 cupcakes. Luckily I have convection on my new oven which came in pretty handy to bake the two cakes and cupcakes all at once and they cooked nice and evenly. The cupcakes were done a little quicker so I was sure to keep an eye on them and take them out earlier.
I thought the recipe had an over abundance of walnuts, calling for walnuts in the cake, in the filling and also covering the frosting. I opted to not use so much and only put walnuts in the praline cream filling. Other than that, I pretty much stuck to the recipe. There is a lot of butter in this recipe in all 3 parts: cake, filling, and frosting. Luckily I had a box of butter in the freezer. Since it was frozen, I was able to use a new found feature of my microwave that is for softening butter. It worked like a charm. It softened it up nicely and it didn't even melt.
The filling for the cake was a whiskey praline cream which requires making a caramel which I have never done before. I tried to follow the instructions but was very unsuccessful, the carmale turned into what looked like snow and didn't darken at all. I guess this is what happens when it crystallizes. I decided to look on the internet for instructions on making caramel and came across a seemingly easy way to do it via a video of Gordon Ramsay. I followed his instructions and viola! I had caramel. It was very easy to do. I think where I went wrong the first time is over stirring the sugar.
The cake had a few ingredients you don't normally find in carrot cake that make it a bit more than just your regular carrot cake. It turned out great and the caramel and cream cheese frosting went with it beautifully. It seemed to be a big hit with Mark too as I've seen him sneak some bites of it several times throughout the day.
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