Carrot Cake Win!
When last I updated this little blog, I was telling you just how much my carrot cake recipe option #1 failed. Lesson learned: A carrot cake that does not get along with frosting is not a good carrot cake.
However, when done right, carrot cake rocks. In fact, it rocks the Casbah.
And you know what else? Perseverance really does pay. And it pays out in cream-cheese-frosted-carrot-cake deliciousness.
As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been experimenting with a couple of recipes for carrot cakes at my friend’s request. She was hoping I had a recipe the would be perfect for her upcoming birthday. Her requirements included cream cheese frosting (no problem!) and raisins (uh… little problem. i don’t eat raisins.).
The first cake was a bust.
This second cake though. It’s a winner. In fact, the birthday girl’s words were, “OMG it is the winner!”
So I guess you could say I’m feeling good for being able to find a recipe that my friend likes so much. Woo hoo!
This recipe came from Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott. I think the ingredient balance, including the light brown sugar and the amount of carrots were what helped make this cake what I hoped it would be.
I’ve also included the cream cheese frosting recipe that I tweaked just a bit to bring in line with my preferred recipe.
(from Southern Cakes)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups grated carrots (about 6 to 8 carrots)
1 1/4 cups chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease two 9-inch cake rounds with PAM Baking (which my company, ConAgra Foods, makes).
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Stir them all together or, if easier, sift them together into the bowl. Just make sure there aren’t any lumps of flour.
In a large bowl, stir the sugar, light brown sugar and vegetable oil together with a wooden spoon. Stir in the lightly beaten eggs in three batches.
Personally, I recommend stirring with a spoon. Using a mixer is an option, but I think I could have over mixed the ingredients, especially during the next step.
Next, stir in the flour mixture in 2 batches, mixing only until the flour disappears into the batter. Fold in the carrots and the nuts. Stir gently just to combine all of the ingredients evenly.
For my raisin-loving friend, I recommended that she substitute about a 1/2 cup of raisins chopped for some of the walnuts. Little currants might be an option too.
Pour the batter evenly into the two cake pans. Bake at 350 for 30 to 35 minutes. The cakes are done when they’re golden brown, spring back when touched lightly in the center and begin to pull away from the sides of the pans.
Cool the pans on wire racks for 15 minutes. Then turn them out on to wire racks to cool completely. When cool, frost with cream cheese frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
(from Southern Cakes)
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 tablespoons butter, softened
3 2/3 cups powdered sugar (one 1 pound box)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 to 4 teaspoons orange juice
To make the frosting, use your mixer’s large bowl to combine the cream cheese and butter until they’re soft and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar about a 1/2 cup at a time. Mix in the vanilla extract. If the frosting looks a little dry, then add about 3 to 4 teaspoons of orange juice 1 teaspoon at a time. If you don’t have orange juice, then milk works too. I’m betting you could also use another flavor of fruit juice, like mango nectar, pineapple juice or others.