Christina Tosi, the founder of LA/NYC classic Milk Bar, has been helping us all out at home with her Instagram Live baking club. Yesterday’s helped me use some leftover veggies and cream cheese frosting I had laying around!
Milk Bar is one of those legendary places; even if you haven’t been to one, you know of it. Christina Tosi’s liveblog baking was brought to my attention by a friend of mine who has seen the development of my love for cooking from Instagram to blog. Every afternoon (for me here in London at least), Tosi posts the ingredients you need with a little clue as to what we will be baking, and then the livestream is on ! I have watched the saved livestreams, but the posts are also available on her website.
The first baking club I joined was an oatmeal cookie bar that I swirled with raspberry jam. It was divine. So so moreish and gave me a tummyache from all the lovely sugar and butter it contained. I baked some cinnamon bun cookies the other evening, on a whim, and had loads of leftover cream cheese frosting. I didn’t want to bin the leftovers, so I was waiting for inspiration to strike.
And there it was on my instagram page ! We have sweet potatoes that need using, and a kilogram of carrots in the fridge, and Christina had just posted the recipe for this delicious skillet cake. I gathered the troops (my ingredients)
Cream cheese frosting is as delicious as it is decadent. Basically, it requires a 2:1 ratio of softened butter and cream cheese (4 oz and 8oz respectively), powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Mix the butter and cream cheese until they are creamed together in one indistinguishable mix. If you have a hand mixer this might save your arm, but I do it all by hand with a pastry spatula! It requires a lot of powdered sugar. Different recipes call for different amounts, but I would say 250g will be plenty. 1 titschy teaspoon of vanilla extract is plenty. I used agave syrup, cos we ran out of vanilla.
If you have vegan cream cheese and vegan butter – sub those in in the same quantities and you have yourself a vegan cream cheese spread. Easy as !
It’s nice to have all of your ingredients ready for you before you start going, so step one (or two, or whatever you do things in, maybe you make frosting first and then mise en place – it’s your kitchen!) is to shred up some veg. For this, Aaron and I used one whole fairly small sweet potato and two medium carrots. The recipe calls for 21/2 cups of shredded veg, and since we haven’t got the proper USA measuring cups, I judged it by sight. That was plenty.
If you’ve got a mandolin cutter, these things work wonders. Just change out the slicer for the shredder. Or use your cheese grater. Whatever floats your boat. Then gather all of the ingredients into a gorgeous array of flours and powders, and get ready to bake bake bake !
Now for the cake itself. Like the banana bread, and most cakes, it starts with the softened butter and sugar. Cream those two bad boys together until they become one creamy mass. Christina Tosi called for light brown sugar, but I’ve run out of that as well so I did half dark brown and half light brown sugars, as well as plenty of granulated sugar.
Two eggs get plopped into this mix and fully incorporated, before 60mL of oil follows in. Whisk it all together, and once you have a cohesive mix, start adding in that flour ! First, you might mix the other dry ingredients though: baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Mix it all until it is JUST batter-like. Aaron did the mixing, I did the flour dumping little by little.
This is a unique cake in that Christina Tosi tells us to bake it in a skillet. You can toss it into a cake pan or a bread tin, or even make muffins with it just as easily though – you will have to modify your cooking time. My mouth is watering thinking about what good little muffins these would make. I did do it in a skillet in the end, well buttered, and the oven set to 180ºC.
It cooks for about 25-30 minutes. Mine cooked pretty much exactly that long, just until the centre was no longer gloopy and it seemed solid.
And here is where tragedy struck, my friends. I took it from the oven carefully with an oven mitt, and let it cool for a second. Then I was ready, I flipped it onto a cooling rack. Only, I was overconfident, and it came out in pieces.
It still made a pretty sight, and allowed a little finger snack to be picked at whenever Aaron or I walked by. The cake was moist, giving, and with the cream cheese frosting it makes it so sugary good. I have to only eat a little bit at a time because stomachless Rachel can’t handle the sugar.
I will absolutely make this again and I will use sultanas and walnuts and make it in little muffin tins because I think that sounds good for me, but you should make it and do what sounds good to you. Look at Christina Tosi’s Instagram and see her own suggestions.
So, here you go: Make it yourself!
Sweet Potato Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients
- 4oz. (115g) butter, softened
- 8oz. (225g) cream cheese, softened
- 225g powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
Cream Cheese Frosting Directions
- Cream together butter and cream cheese.
- Add in powdered sugar little by little as well as the tsp of vanilla.
- Mix until desired consistency.
- 8Tbsp (120g) butter
- 2 eggs
- 1/2Cup (90g) light brown sugar, tightly packed
- 1/2Cup (100g) granulated white sugar
- 1/4Cup (60mL) vegetable or sunflower oil
- 1&1/4Cup (150g) flour
- 2&1/2Cups peeled and shredded vegetables – I used sweet potato and carrot but you could also do ginger, beetroot, zucchini…
- 1tsp baking powder
- 1/4tsp baking soda
- 3/4tsp cinnamon
- 1&1/4tsp salt
- Cream together butter and both sugars.
- Add eggs and mix until fully incorporated.
- Add vegetable oil, mix until incorporated.
- Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Mix just until it forms a batter.
- Fold in your shredded veggies and mis until incorporated.
- Grease a skillet, spread the cake even in the pan.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the center is no longer jiggly and the cake seems set.
What did you add to your version? What do you wish you did differently? I know that I will be making this cake again and again…
Hope you’re all well. Sending baking love and sugar!