I am so excited to be blogging right now. I have missed it so much. As you may have noticed, it has been almost a full year since the last time I posted a new recipe. Life gets busy for all of us and unfortunately, my blog had to be put on the back burner BUT both of my sweet rowdy boys are in school FULL TIME now! So, blogging is now attainable once again.
I can’t think of a better way to kick off fall and a new year of blogging than a recipe for the best carrot cake on the planet! My hubby and I both love carrot cake but a good carrot cake is hard to come by. This cake is the perfect combination of dense, fluffy, moist, sweet and spicy and is topped with a delicate, creamy cream cheese frosting. AND it doesn’t have any chunks (pineapple, coconut or nuts), which is the only way I like it . Obviously, this is not an opinion shared by all, since many restaurants and bakeries DO add the “chunks”. If you prefer those ingredients, please by all means, add them to this recipe. It is a great canvas for whatever your carrot cake loving heart desires.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 lb (6-7 medium) carrots, peeled and shredded
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable (I know, took me a few minutes to comprehend that amount of oil :). I have never tried it with this recipe because it is so amazing as is, but you can substitute an equal amount applesauce or at least part applesauce for a healthier version… If you do, please please comment and let me know how it turned out)
Frosting – I doubled the recipe below in order to fill and frost the double layer cake. If you are just baking the cake in a 9×13, the recipe below should suffice.
8 oz softened cream cheese (I used the 30% less fat [Neuchâtel] cream cheese this last time and it turned out really good, just made a bit thinner frosting than that made with regular cream cheese)
5 T unsalted butter (or salted if you don’t have unsalted on hand), softened
1 T sour cream (I used the low-fat sour cream but if you want the creamier frosting, use regular)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt, set aside.
In a mixer bowl, beat sugar, brown sugar and eggs together until frothy. With machine running, add oil in a steady stream and mix until light in color.
At low-speed, or by hand, stir in carrots and then dry ingredients until no streaks of flour remain.
Prepare parchment paper for the bottom of pans. I always spray the bottom of the pan with non-stick spray first then lay the cut parchment paper into the pan then spray again for extra non-stick insurance.
Pour batter into either two 8″ round pans or one 9×13 pan. I like to use my finger or a knife to measure the amount of batter in each pan so I don’t get one over-filled.
Bake for 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees. I start with the lowest recommended amount of time or even a few minutes before. Once the top of the cake no longer looks wet and it doesn’t appear to do any jiggling when I move the pan, I will very lightly touch the center of the cake. If my fingerprint remains, I add 2-3 more minutes until I can touch it and it bounces back and no indention remains. Cool on wire rack for a few minutes before removing from the pan. Cool completely before frosting.
For frosting, beat softened cream cheese and softened butter together until smooth. Add vanilla and sour cream. Slowly add powdered sugar and mix until smooth.
*Frosting Tips- Place your first cake layer top-side down onto a cake plate. Place about 1/3 of the frosting into the center of the first layer of cake. Spread evenly. Stack the next layer on top of the filling with the flat part (the bottom of the cake) facing toward the top. This will give you a nicely squared top. Add the remainder of your frosting to the top of the cake and slowly distribute it, always pushing from the center. Never lift yourspatula straight up off of the icing. This will cause the icing to stick to the spatula and pull all of those pesky crumbs off of the cake and into your frosting. So, work from the middle to the outside and glide back inside again as you take pressure off the spatula then turn the cake plate and again push from the inside to the outside. Work all of the excess toward the edges of the top of the cake and once you feel you have enough at the edges, then work it down onto the sides, again being careful not to lift the spatula straight up. Always keep frosting pushing ahead of your spatula. Don’t ever let your spatula touch the cake without a good buffer of frosting in between. Once you get your entire cake covered with frosting, you can smooth it out and make it pretty.