Baking at Midnight, Insomnia Edition: Fluted Carrot Tangerine Cake

Ignore the lumps in the glaze. Was too tired to whisk them out.

Ignore the lumps in the glaze. Was too tired to whisk them out.

I know I’ve mentioned before that I have insomnia, and that you can often find me baking at midnight when I can’t sleep. Today is a bit of a variation on the theme, as last night I couldn’t sleep (as in only caught a couple of hours of it before I had to drag myself out of bed), so today I’ve been in exhausted zombie mode. (I have no idea how I managed to pull all-nighters when I was younger. Sleep is now something that I clutch to my chest while muttering ‘my precious!’)

For whatever reason, the lack of sleep has hit me particularly hard today, and I’m pulling a blank on trying to remember things. Probably not the wisest time to bake something, but hey, it’s bake-a-long time and I’m a-gonna bake!

This week my bake-a-long group is baking Dorie Greenspan’s Fluted Carrot Tangerine Cake, from her Baking Chez Moi cookbook. It’s supposed to be a French version of carrot cake, with a citrus and ginger kick. And the way I’m weaving from exhaustion, I could use the kick!

After you mix the egg/butter/sugar mixture with the carrot/ginger/orange mixture and add in the orange juice, Dorie says that the resultant mixture will look curdled and that that’s ok. It definitely looks curdled.

She also says that once you add in the dry ingredients, that the mixture will ‘look pretty’ again. So not the case with my batter. Still looks curdled. Just…smaller curd. Appetizing, yes?



Eh. When I’m this tired, almost perfect is good enough. So curdled or not, I’m putting this batter in the pan and baking it. I still wonder why it’s so curdled; I measured everything carefully. With the exception of the butter. I don’t have a food scale in my kitchen, so I kind of just eyeballed the butter. That’s the only possible variable, and yes, I recognize that it’s a big one!

Update to look in the oven: It’s rising! Not sure why Dorie says the cake will only be an inch high; it’s at least two inches high and going for broke. I’m sure I used the correct amount of baking powder. Pretty sure, at least. I’m too tired to think straight, frankly.

Update after looking in the oven again: Melted butter everywhere! Instead of mini bundt cakes, they look like muffins with huge, buttery muffin tops! And even more butter running down the sides of the pan in rivulets! My personal motto is that butter makes everything better, so I’m not sure if this is a bad thing or a good thing. Eh. I’m going to go with it’s A Good Thing! (Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt, peeps!)

Final Update: They turned out! The fluted carrot cakes taste rather yummy, or as the DH said after the first bite: “Oh my god, these are sooo goood!” The little cakes have the texture that I imagine Baba au Rum cakes to have, all dense and moist and heavy, especially after the addition of a orange-juice-and-icing-sugar glaze. These cakes are a mini meal in themselves, and I can totally see serving them with a good, strong cup of coffee. Diet-friendly, no, but taste-bud-friendly? Yuppers!

Final final update: Butter makes everything better. And apparently I can bake in my sleep. Or rather, in the absence of it! Going to bed now. (My preciouZzzzzzz…)

Next Post: Adventures in Indian Food, Part II. In which I take chana masala and up the spice factor  by 100. On purpose, really! Mostly. Ok, so…accidentally. But it still turned out! Stay tuned….

27 thoughts on “Baking at Midnight, Insomnia Edition: Fluted Carrot Tangerine Cake

  1. sanya

    Oh! I had insomnia for a full month last year and I thought I was going crazy after a while! I am impressed you pulled this off so late and did a great job as well!
    It really was a satisfyingly tasty cake 🙂

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  3. Teresa

    I try not to bake when I’m tired, as weird things have been known to happen. Cooking, sometimes, too. I love your little cakes and I agree – butter makes everything better. I finally caught up on this on the blog today and I thought it was fantastic, too.

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