I love carrot cake. Of all the non-chocolate cakes, it's probably my favorite one. When Hungry Bear gave me the choice between carrot cake and chocolate turtle cake, I still chose the carrot cake. I wanted to keep it uncomplicated this past Sunday night, and what's better than a simple carrot cake with cream cheese frosting?
Hungry Bear used a recipe from an old roommate, Roz. You know, the kind of recipe that's written on an index card and handed down. The cake contains pineapples and coconut flakes, which we both enjoy in our carrot cake. Hungry Bear mentioned Cook's Illustrated (CI) pooh poohed the use of canned crushed pineapples, toasted coconut and wheat germ in The New Best Recipes. In fact, they were "unanimously voted out", but CI approved raisins and nuts as options... um, no thanks. I love Cook's Illustrated, but sometimes their decisions seem completely arbitrary. With all due respect to CI, Hungry Bear and I unanimously voted pineapples and coconut flakes back in!
The carrot cake was fantastic. It was relatively light, tender and moist, but not soggy. And then there's the cream cheese frosting. I think it speaks for itself. I knew the cake was good when our friend, Jane, had two servings of dessert, which she never does. Or it just could be, she's eating for two now, congrats Jane and Mark! We like to believe the cake was really good.
Since the carrot cake is fresh on our minds and palates, I'm going to make a light carrot cake based on a Cook's Illustrated recipe this weekend. We'll see how it compares to the full fat version. And yes, crushed pineapples and coconut flakes will be included!
Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups carrots (4-5 medium carrots), peeled
- 8 ounces crushed pineapple, lightly drained
- 3 1/2 ounces coconut flakes
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened but still cool
- 4 ounces (1 stick) butter, softened but still cool
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 16 ounces confectioners' sugar
- Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350°F. Grease 13 by 9-inch baking pan with vegetable oil. Line bottom of pan with parchment and oil.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg; set aside.
- Shred carrots using small holes of box grater; set aside. In bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment (or in large bowl and using hand-held mixer), beat eggs, granulated and brown sugars on medium-high until thoroughly combined, about 45 seconds. Reduce speed to low; with mixer running, add oil in slow, steady stream. Increase speed to high and mix until mixture is light in color and well emulsified, about 45 to 60 seconds longer.
- On low speed, add the dry ingredients until just combined. By hand stir in the carrots, pineapple and coconut until well combined. Pour into cake pan and bake until toothpick or skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. On a wire rack, cool cake to room temperature in pan, about 1-2 hours.
- Mix cream cheese, butter, and vanilla at medium high speed in clean bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment ( or in large bowl using handheld mixer) until well combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Add confectioners’ sugar and mix until very fluffy, about 1 minute.
- Run paring knife around edge of cake to loosen from pan. Invert cake onto wire rack, peel off parchment, then invert again onto serving platter. Using icing spatula, spread frosting evenly over surface of cake. Cut into squares and serve.
Makes one 13 by 9-inch cake
[Directions adapted from Cook's Illustrated]
[tags]carrot, cake, pineapple, coconut, cream cheese, frosting, nutmeg, cinnamon[/tags]