Wednesday 2 March 2016

Swirled Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls

I made a carrot cake last week.  It broke my heart to give it away.  It saved my waistline.  But definitely broke my heart.  I didn't even sample a slice of the moist goodness and oh so delicious cream cheese frosting.  It looks ghetto to give a gift of partially eaten cake.  Or so some people say :(

I saved the leftover frosting in a little zipper baggie in the fridge.  I look at that little baggy everyday when I'm rooting through the fridge, thinking about how its time has almost expired.  However, I really, really, really struggle to throw out food.  So this morning I decided it needed to be used.  Our friends Alex, Heston and Sully were coming for a playdate.  They tolerate my experiments like true champs.  Today was no exception.

I didn't want to make a whole carrot cake again.  I made cinnamon buns last time these friends came over.  BUT.... what if I combined the two?!?!  Why had I not thought of that before?   It was 7:53 am.  If I hustled we would have a 10:30 snack.   The "Swirled Carrot Cake Cinnamon Rolls" were now born.....

Beware:  these are sloppy to make.  I was almost ready to write them off as a failure before they hit the pan.  But I persevered and the result was very much worth it!

1 & 2/3 cup warm water
3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
4 & 1/3 to 4 & 3/4 cups flour
1 & 1/2 tsp yeast

Combine all ingredients in a stand mixer in the order given.  Knead with the dough hook until very smooth and elastic, between 5 to 8 minutes.  Place dough into a greased bowl, cover, and allow to rise until double in bulk (about 45 minutes).   I like to do this in my oven, with the oven-light on.

Meanwhile, prepare carrot cake filling:

Carrot Cake Batter Filling;
1 large egg
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
3 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
dash salt
3/4 cup very finely grated carrots

Combine egg, sugar, and oil in a large mixing bowl.  In a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Add to wet ingredients and stir just until moistened.  Fold in carrots.

When dough has risen, place on floured counter-top (or on top of silicone baking mat on top of the counter).  Divide dough into two portions, and working one at a time, roll out into two rectangles, measuring approximately 16 x 12 inches.  Using a rubber spatula, spread half of the carrot cake batter evenly on top of the dough, leaving about a 2 inch border along all sides.

Yes, that's cake batter.  Not what it looks like.  Not really appealing.  Just trust me.
Very loosely roll-up the dough starting with the longest edge, and pinch to seal once rolled.  NOTE:  It is important to roll this loosely so you don't lose all your batter.  Yes, it will ooze.  That's ok. Gently, but quickly, cut into 9 equal sized pieces and place in a greased 8x8 pan (I prefer glass).  You will notice that the filling is oozing out while cutting.  Rub the swirled dough against the counter or baking mat to pick up this rogue filling before placing in the pan.  This messy goodness that looks like a disaster now will just be carrot cakey-goodnessy topping when cooked.  Trust me.

Ready to bake.  I know, they are so not pretty right now.  Keep trusting me.

Repeat with other half of dough and filling, and place in another greased 8x8 pan. Allow to rise for an additional 30 minutes, covered loosely with a tea towel.  Bake in a preheated 350F oven for approximately 20 to 25 minutes.  Mine took 23 minutes.

While they are baking, whip up a quick cream cheese glaze using:

Cream Cheese Glaze
1/4 cup softened butter
1/4 cup softened cream cheese
2 cups icing sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 tsp vanilla

Cream together the butter and cream cheese.  Gradually add icing sugar, 1/2 a cup at a time, adding milk as needed.  Beat in vanilla.  Drizzle over warm rolls.

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