Friday, April 16, 2010

Carrot Cake

This is THE favorite carrot cake (This for you, Mrs. H).
Wonderful with a cup of good black coffee for dessert or in the afternoon.
As far as cakes go, I know there are some out there that contain applesauce (not so bad), potatoes, zucchini, beets (!?), and of course, carrots.

I don't know why carrot cake is associated with Easter and spring. I was thinking it may have something to do with rabbits and carrots being associated with one another.
Then again, some of the ingredients are things more associated with tropical climes (like pineapple and coconut), so maybe we crave it with warmer weather? But, it's sort of like a spice cake to some extent and can be great in the fall...
Who knows?

This one is a little different because you use cooked and mashed carrots, whereas many others use fresh grated carrots.

I know this contains things that some people may not like or are allergic to. If so, I feel sorry for you.
Everyone at my house is fine with coconut, but when I was in college Roommate did not like coconut. Not that we ever had a problem or a falling out because of it (except this one time when there was a total knock-down drag-out... and I won). I bought her a card to that effect (of the love vs. hate coconut situation) at one point. It said something like "there are two kinds of people in this world- those who like coconut and those who don't"... so true.

Anyway, I think all the things in this cake are a great combination- everything seems perfectly balanced and does not stand out as "off" for one reason or another.

The recipe (from the Silver Palate Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Shelia Lukins) says it's 10-12 portions, but I think it could definitely go for more.
The original calls for two 9 inch spring form pans (I don't know who keeps TWO around- I definitely don't). More common are 9 inch round cake pans, right? Grease two of those and cut parchment to fit in the bottom of the pan. To do so you should cut a piece of parchment paper roughly the diameter of the pan. Fold the paper 4-5 times until you have a triangle (this is kind of like making paper snowflakes). Hold the paper so that the tip of the triangle is roughly at the center of the pan. This gives you an estimate for the appropriate sized paper. Cut whatever is outside the pan, unfold, and you have your pan liner (it will stick right to the greased pan when you place it in the bottom). You may have to trim the edge a little or fold the paper at the bottom edge of the pan so that it goes up the side a little. You'll find that the cake pops right out of the pan and the paper peels off very easily!

Carrot Cake
serves 10-12 (or more)

3 c flour
3c granulated sugar
1 t salt
1 T baking soda
1 T ground cinnamon
1 1/2 c corn oil (or applesauce)
4 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 T vanilla extract
1 1/2 shelled walnuts, chopped
1 1/2 shredded coconut
1 1/3 c cooked, pureed carrots (about 1 pound)
3/4 c crushed pineapple

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease two 9 inch round cake pans and place parchment paper rounds in the bottom of the pans (see above for photos and instructions). Sift dry ingredients into a bowl. Add oil (or applesauce), eggs, and vanilla. Beat well. Fold in carrot, pineapple, coconut, and walnuts.
Pour batter into prepared pans. Set in the middle rack of the oven and bake for 50 minutes, until edges have pulled away from the sides of the pan and a cake tester inserted near the center comes out clean.
Cool on a cake rack about 3 hours. Wrap in foil and refrigerate for later (I think it's best if it rests a couple days before serving) or fill and frost with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
6 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 c confectioners' sugar
1 t vanilla extract
juice of 1/2 lemon (optional, but I think it's better when included)

Cream butter and cream cheese together in a mixing bowl. Slowly sift in confectioners' sugar and continue beating until fully incorporated. Mixture should be free of lumps. Stir in vanilla and lemon.
Yields enough to frost a 2-layer cake.

*After you frost the cake and "glue" the layers together, you may want to put a few toothpicks or cut-off skewers in the cake to hold the layers together. That way, when it is cut, you won't have one layer sliding around on the other. Just remember that you have placed the toothpicks there (and maybe offer a fair warning with slices) so nobody inadvertently stabs themselves in the mouth. Then again, people should probably see the toothpicks if they have one.


  1. Uh oh!-Haven't heard from Patsy C for a while...I hope Muffin is not in trouble-or what's worse---I hope Patsy is safe.

  2. mrs. h. truly appreciates the 'shout out' and the recipe. It goes without saying that mr. h. will be EXTREMELY pleased! We froze the cake you sent home with us after the 'un-birthday' and when we had the cake a month later it was still amazing. I was just thinking the other day that I needed to ask you for the recipe and voila, here it is! Thanks for being a mind reader. LOVE the blog!

  3. I've been wondering about PatsyC too... and getting worried about her and attempting this recipe.

  4. Don't worry. She's probably still trying to perfect the Raspberry Vodka. After all, that recipe requires much taste-testing to get the PERFECT blend.