Food ‘n Flix: Peter Rabbit: Carrot Pecan Cake with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

Is it cheating if I picked this month’s Food ‘n Flix movie just because I knew I was going to be making a carrot cake for Easter dinner? Maybe it is. But I knew I wanted to make this carrot cake for Easter, so I wanted to find a movie that was Easter-oriented. I know that this movie has received some poor reviews for the food allergy scene (which really was unacceptable,) but I do think that on whole, I actually really did enjoy this movie. See this month’s announcement post here.

I then spent the remainder of the day watching other rabbit movies (some more loosely interpreted than others: Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, The House Bunny, Space Jam.) Easter felt more normal this year – since we all have been vaccinated, I was able to see my parents for the first time since October when they brought me my dog back to my house after he had been visiting them on an extended stay.

Peter Rabbit, the movie, is based on the story by Beatrix Potter, where this little mischievous rabbit gets into trouble in Mr. McGregor’s garden. When Mr. McGregor dies, Peter and his crew think they have it made – the house is theirs! The food in the garden is theirs! Little do they know, McGregor has a great-nephew who inherits the house, who is just as much of a rabbit hater as his great-uncle McGregor had been.

Besides the carrots, there was a ton of veggie and other food inspiration in this movie:

  • Cauliflower
  • Tomato
  • Potato
  • Zucchini
  • Rabbit pie
  • Mashed potatoes with peas
  • Sandwiches
  • Lots of gravy
  • Celery
  • Apples
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Beets
  • Lettuce
  • Bell pepper

This cake was made from a cookbook my brother got me for Christmas, Dessert Person by Claire Saffitz. I thought the instructions in this book were great. I generally am a lot sloppier when I ice a cake, but the instructions said to put the cake in the fridge for 15 minutes after the first frosting layer (the crumb layer) and then again after the second layer. I found it made spreading the frosting so much easier.

This cake was so incredibly moist and flavorful. I need to cook a lot more from this cookbook. Here’s Claire Saffitz making this cake on youtube. The only real difference I made with this cake is that I made it a 2-layer cake instead of a 3-layer cake, because I could not find my third cake pan.

Carrot Pecan Cake with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients

CAKE
1 1/2 cups pecan pieces
1 pound carrots, peeled and grated
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
4 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil

FROSTING
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 pound cream cheese
pinch of salt
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

CAKE

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Scatter the pecans on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, shaking the sheet half way though.
  3. Prepare your cake pans. Lightly oil the bottoms of the pans and line with parchment paper. Set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl mix together the carrots, buttermilk, ginger, and vanilla.
  5. Place 2/3 of the pecans in a ziplock bag. Using a kitchen mallet crush the pecans. Set in a bowl and set aside. Using the same ziplock, add the remaining pecans. Using the kitchen mallet, crush the pecans even finer than the first batch until you have a nut meal.
  6. In another medium bowl, add the nut meal, flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, baking soda, ginger, and cloves. Whisk to combine.
  7. In a stand mixer using the whisk attachment, combine the eggs and both sugars. Beat on medium-low heat until the eggs are broken up. Then increase the speed for about 4 minutes.
  8. With the mixer on medium-high, very slowly stream in the oil until the mixture is smooth.
  9. Replace the whisk attachment with the paddle. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and on low-speed mix until the flour has disappeared. Add half of the carrot mixture, and mix until incorporated. Add another 1/3 of the flour and mix until flour has disappeared again. Mix the other half of the carrot mixture in until incorporated and then mix the remaining flour mixture in until the flour has disappeared.
  10. Once the batter is fully mixed, fold in the pecan pieces that had been set aside.
  11. Divide the batter between the two pans. Place both pans in the oven and bake for 35 minutes, rotating the pans about 20 minutes in.
  12. Let the cakes cool. Once fully cooled, remove from the pans and set on a cooling rack.

FROSTING

  1. In a medium saucepan, cook the 2 sticks of butter over medium heat, stirring and scraping the sides with a heatproof spatula, until the the butter begins to foam and the solid bits turn brown.
  2. Scrape the butter and all toasted bits into a bowl of a stand mixture and set aside until the butter has cooled.
  3. In a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese on medium-high until completely smooth.
  4. Add the salt and powdered sugar and pulse the mixer on low several times to incorporate the sugar. Beat in the vanilla.
  5. Place the frosting in the refrigerator until it firms up, stirring it every 10 minutes. You want the frosting to hold a peak.
  6. Place one of the cake layers upside down on a cake round. Slide several strips of parchment paper partially underneath and all around the cake to protect the plate.
  7. Using a small offset spatula, spread about 1 cup of the frosting across the surface of the cake, working all the way to the edges.
  8. Place the other cake upside down on top, centering it and pressing it firmly down. Spread about 1 1/2 cup of frosting across the surface of the cake and work all the way to the edges in a very thin, even layer. This is the “crumb coat.” Refrigerate the cake for 10 minutes.
  9. Cover the cake in a generous layer of frosting, working it across the top and down the sides in loose strokes. Refrigerate again for 10 minutes.

5 thoughts on “Food ‘n Flix: Peter Rabbit: Carrot Pecan Cake with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

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