Thursday, September 20, 2012

Carrot Cake

When I was a little girl, I always asked for carrot cake on my birthday, that is until I discovered chocolate chip cookie cakes. I loved the sweetness and the subtle spice of carrot cake. Yes, I thought about such things even as a young child.

Last month, a summer intern brought a delicious and gorgeous carrot cake to the office, and it was the best carrot cake I've ever had. He was kind enough to share the recipe with me before leaving.

With a huge bunch of beautiful carrots straight from the farm, I set out to make the double layered carrot cake. I can't remember the last time I made a dessert, maybe it was a orange-scented rhubarb crumble earlier this Spring or maybe mini flourless chocolate cake for a special birthday last year?

When I read through the recipe, I was a bit hesitant to use so much sugar, oil, and butter, but I took a depth breath assured myself that we eat healthily every other day. The delicious carrot cake is unbelievably moist, with a perfect balance of sweetness, spice, and tartness. The frosting has an incredible lemony brightness that offers the perfect contrast to the sweetness.

I added chopped walnuts to the frosting, but you can leave these out if you prefer. This carrot cake will keep moist for several days if kept covered and is perfect for parties. Thank you, JA, for the delicious recipe and all the wonderful foodie conversations!

Carrot Cake

Makes 2 layers, halve recipe for a single 9" layer


2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 lb carrots, grated about 3 cups
1 small can (6-8 oz) crushed pineapple, drained


8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick butter
2 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice (or a little more to taste)
optional: 1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large bowl or in a stand mixer, combine the dry ingredients (sugar, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt), then add oil and continue to mix. Lightly beat eggs in a small bowl, then add beaten eggs to the mixture and stir well. Mix in carrots and pineapple. Lightly oil two 9" cake pans, transfer mixture evenly across both pans. Bake simultaneously at 350 for 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add powdered sugar and lemon juice, and mix well. If using, add chopped walnuts. Taste and adjust lemon juice as needed. Refrigerate while cake is baking and cooling.

Once cakes are cooled, transfer one cake to a serving platter to create the bottom layer of the cake. Generously frost top of cake, then place second cake on top to make the top layer. Carefully frost sides and top.

Alternatively you can create two separate cakes or just halve the recipe for a single layer of cake.

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