Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Carrot Cake

The cake only looks like its flying.

A carrot cake is a difficult thing. Invariably, half the people at any given party or dinner won't eat any because they hate carrot cake. And the other half is probably judging you. Or your cake anyway.

So I was a little nervous when one of my co-workers requested carrot cake for her birthday. I figured I'd just use my favorite recipe but then I remembered that involves a layer of strawberry jam in the middle with the frosting and sometimes purists react badly when you mess with dessert staples. (Just ask me about the pumpkin pie I brought to Thanksgiving one year.) So instead I used this one from Alton Brown. He's never led me astray. Even that one time he insisted I could not make an apple pie without buying an expensive bottle of apple whiskey.

My cake turned out a little bit on the dry side, probably because of the white whole wheat flour. If you want to use whole wheat, just sub out 1 cup and use the other 1.5 cups of all purpose.

Adapted from
Alton Brown, The Food Network


2 1/2 cups shredded carrots
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (LN: I subbed white whole wheat flour)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
3/4 cup plain yogurt
3/4 cup vegetable oil (LN: I used peanut oil, but canola would work as well)

1 8-oz. block of cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour one 9-inch round cake pan.

Place the carrots in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl (or your food processor) mix the dry ingredients -- flour, baking powder, baking soda and spices. Add the flour mixture to the carrots and stir until combined.

In the bowl of the food processor, whiz the remaining ingredients until smooth. Add the wet mixture to the dry, then stir just until moistened. Pour the batter into the cake pan. Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees, then reduce heat to 325 and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Allow cake to cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edge, then remove from pan and let cool completely.

Once cake is cool, combine cream cheese and butter in a bowl. Blend with a hand mixer until smooth. Add the vanilla and blend again. Gradually add the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until it is completely incorporated into the frosting.

Using a large, serrated knife, cut the cake into two layers. Place the bottom layer on a plate and spread half the frosting on top. Gently add the top layer and then frost with remaining cream cheese mixture. Garnish with walnuts, if desired.

Keep the cake in the fridge until ready to serve. Allow the cake to sit for about 10-15 minutes out of the fridge before serving.

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