We made this fantastically delicious carrot cake a little while back, but we're just now getting around to writing about it.
We wanted something sweet to cap off our Easter brunch, and a carrot cake seemed like just the thing. The recipe we found, from The Gourmet Cookbook, turned out to be perfect.
It's easy (especially if you have a food processor), impressive (especially if your guests are a little tipsy from a three-hour brunch) and incredibly, incredibly delicious (period).
We made the cake the day before our brunch. If anything, I wish we had made it even before that. This is one of those cakes that just gets better and better and better the longer it sits (in an airtight container, of course). It was fantastic to begin with, but by our (ahem) fifth day in a row of eating the cake, it had become absolutely transcendent.
We stuck pretty close to this recipe (always a good idea when baking). We used fewer walnuts and more raisins than it calls for. And we made -- and used, and ate -- 50 percent more frosting than the recipe. This was partly because we wanted to split the two layers crosswise, ending up with four layers and frosting between each one. And also partly because -- hello? -- cream cheese frosting. Enough said.
Oh, and we garnished the top of the cake with candied carrot shavings. We just cooked them in a simple syrup for a bit, dried them and then heaped them on top of the center of the cake. Simple and pretty.
From The Gourmet Cookbook, via The Ulterior Epicure.
About 3/4 pound carrots
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
4 large eggs
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2/3 cup raisins (optional)
2 (8-ounce) packages of cream cheese, softened
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
Special Equipment: two 9-by-2-inch round cake pans
Make the Cake: Put a rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 350F. Butter and flour cake pans, knocking out excess flour.
1. Shred enough carrots on smallest teardrop holes of box grater or with fine shredding disk in a food processor to measure 2 cups.
2. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon into a large bowl. Stir in sugar, oil, eggs, carrots, pineapple, coconut, walnuts and raisins (if using).
3. Divide batter between cake pans and bake until a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center of cakes comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes. Cool layers in pans on a rack for 5 minutes, then run a thin knife around edge of each pan and invert layers onto rack to cool completely.
Make the Frosting: Beat together cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until fluffy about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, add confectioners’ sugar, and beat until frosting is smooth.
Place 1 cake layer bottom side up on a cake plate and spread with some of frosting. Place remaining cake layer right side up on top and spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake.
- The cake layers can be made up to 1 day ahead and kept, well-wrapped in plastic wrap, at room temperature.
- The frosting can be made up 1 day ahead and refrigerated, covered. Bring to room temperature, then beat with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth before frosting the cake.