Making Carrot Cake with Feta Frosting:
I love you guys. But you shouldn’t have told me not to do it. Actually, even if you told me to do it I would’ve done it. It’s a catch 22. But with every “Nay! Do noth do it!” warning, I was cackling maniacally while thinking about how to make feta palatable enough in a frosting. Let’s take a walk.
The first and obvious step was to find a recipe for a carrot cake that’s foolproof and delicious. This is crucial since this cake is going to be the savior of this experiment. Cue Sally’s Baking Addiction's recipe for carrot cake, with a few tweaks:
[ 1 cup brown sugar, packed + 3/4 cup vegetable oil + 1/4 cup regular yogurt, plain or vanilla + 3 large eggs + 2 teaspoons vanilla extract + 2 cups all-purpose flour + 1 teaspoon baking soda + 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon + 2 cups very finely grated carrots + 3/4 cup pecan pieces ]
Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray a 9 or 10 inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray. Sally doesn’t recommend using a regular circular or square baking pan since the cake might rise above - which to be honest didn’t quite matter to me, since I didn’t have a springform pan AND can’t find any circular cake pan. So I had to use the next best thing:
What’s that, you ask? Why, it’s my mother’s jello mold made out of metal. Greased it, floured it. Set it aside.
In a large bowl with a handheld or stand mixer on medium speed (My mixer was missing a beater attachment, just sayin’), combine the brown sugar and oil. Beat in the yogurt until fully combined - about 60 seconds. Mixture will be gritty and thick. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and cinnamon. With a spatula, manually stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined and all flour pockets are gone - do not overmix.
Fold in the finely shredded carrots and pecan pieces. Speaking of pecan pieces, I didn’t have any on hand. But what I do have is close enough - a packet of airplane assorted nuts! There was cashew, almonds, pistachio and candied fruits. I took out the candied watermelon - those do nothing for cake aesthetics, and pretty much pulverized them - with my knife, for “volume”. Then I realized I should save half to put on top of the finished cake, so I only put maybe a 1/4 cup of nuts into the batter.
Pour into prepared springform pan. Bake cake for 32-38 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Do not overbake, which will dry out cake. Check the cake at 30 minutes, then again at 32. My cake took around 35 minutes.
While the cake is baking, it’s time to make the frosting (oh yeah).
Now I started out with 200 gr of feta cheese and a few triangles of soft cheddar. I could’ve used the cheddar, I suppose, but that would go against my principles.
So in goes the 200 gr of feta into a bowl - I knew I wanted to use all of it. It’s all or nothing, babes. I tasted a bit of it just to gauge the amount of sugar needed. The thing that came to mind when I tasted it was “Brine! Pickles!" - it was so, so salty, so I added 150 gr of icing sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and then I beat it with a mixer. At least, I tried to beat it to combine, because the feta was bit hard and won’t budge. I coaxed it with a spoon by smushing it around a bit before using the mixer. When it was smooth-ish, I added 150 ml of [very] COLD heavy cream and just kept mixing at medium speed until it became thick and frosting like.
Then it was time to taste and adjust. It tasted alright at first lick, but then the sweetness disintegrate to leave a mouthful of pungent, salty taste. So I added another 50 gr of icing sugar, another 50 ml of cold heavy cream and another teaspoon of vanilla. Mix again.
It didn’t taste that bad. Sure, it doesn’t taste like your regular cream cheese frosting, but it doesn’t scream “BRINE! PICKLES!” either. I decided it’ll have to do and put it in the fridge to chillax. Meanwhile, cake’s done!
I detected some underbaking in the middle, but for now it’ll have to do. I set it aside to cool completely before turning it out because I wasn’t even sure if it will come out intact from the pan.
It did, and beautifully too. I got the frosting out of the fridge and it was the moment of truth. It spreads out alright, not too thick, not too thin. But 200 gr was a mighty amount of cheese, so there was a LOT of leftover. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Because I’m thinking FETA CHEESECAKE! Just kidding. Maybe.
Anyways, the frosting is on and the chopped nuts are sprinkled on. Time to taste the cake.
It wasn’t….bad. Surprisingly. Definitely not as bad as you think it would be. It’s good, but not cream cheese good. I think the cake made up for whatever the frosting is lacking, and I’m glad I left out the salt in the cake batter. All in all, I thought it was a good experiment. At least now I know you can definitely use feta when you’re in a pinch. Actually, more like if you’re a rat stuck between two bookcases. A fat rat. In a very narrow space. In any case, here’s the recipe for the frosting:
FETA FROSTING (oh yeah):
[ 100gr feta cheese, crumbled + 100 to 150gr icing sugar + 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract + 100 to 150 ml cold heavy cream ]
In a bowl, beat together the crumbled feta and sugar until combined. Add in the vanilla extract and beat again for 30 seconds. Add in the cold heavy cream and beat until smooth and thick. Refrigerate until needed.
Put on carrot cake and serve. Enjoy!
EDIT: Refrigerate cake overnight before serving! I just tried another slice after it’s been sitting 2 hours in the fridge and it tasted way better. Perhaps refrigeration will improve its taste.
PS: I tried looking up posts with “feta frosting” tag, but in vain.
So I’m going to add that tag to this post with “feta frosting”, just in case someone else is curious enough.
PSS: Thank you to those who answered! Without your ”Aye!(s)” or “Nay!(s)”, it wouldn’t have happened. Thanks again, guys!