Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

Carrot Cake

In celebration of our first anniversary, I asked The Hero what kind of cake he wanted (besides chocolate) and he said carrot cake. Mentally I groaned because I thought about all of the stuff I’ve had in carrot cake: raisins, nuts, coconut, pineapples… and I gagged. I just couldn’t see myself eating fruit cake with icing, so I did some research.

I turned to my trusty Cook’s Illustrated cookbook and decided to see what the Test Kitchen cooks had to offer. I found a simple recipe with the option to add raisins and nuts. Genius. AND it wouldn’t take forever to make. The only thing I needed was a food processor. Double bonus.

Of course, this recipe wouldn’t be one of mine without an everything, but. Everything, but nutmeg and sour cream, so I used allspice and yogurt instead. And I didn’t have any powdered sugar, so I made my own by pulverizing granulated sugar in the food processor for about 10 minutes. Still delicious. If you like nuts, toast 1½ cups and add it with the raisins and carrots.

Carrot Cake
slight modification from Cook’s Illustrated

  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour (12½ ounces)
  • 1¼  teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1¼ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla salt
  • 1 lb carrots, washed (about 3 cups)
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar (10½ ounces)
  • ½ cup light brown sugar, packed (3½ ounces)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1½ cups canola oil

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened but still cool
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but still cool
  • 1 tablespoon yogurt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1¼ cupsconfectioners’ sugar (4½ ounces)
For the cake:
Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9″ round cake pans with oil. Line bottom of pan with parchment and grease the parchment
Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and salt in large bowl; set aside.
In a food processor fitted with large shredding disk, shred the carrots; transfer the carrots to the bowl with the flour mixture. Add the raisins to the flour mixture. Wipe out food processor bowl and fit with metal blade. Process the sugars and eggs until frothy and thoroughly combined, about 20 seconds. With machine running, add oil through feed tube in steady stream. Process until mixture is light in color and well emulsified, about 20 seconds longer. Scrape mixture into a large bowl. Stir in carrots and dry ingredients until incorporated and no streaks of flour remain. Pour into prepared pans and bake until toothpick or skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking time. Cool cake to room temperature in pan on wire rack, about 2 hours.

For the frosting:

When cake is cool, mix the cream cheese, butter, yogurt, and vanilla in a medium bowl until combined. Add confectioners’ sugar and mix until smooth.

Run a knife around the edge of the cakes to loosen from the pans. Invert one cake onto a wire rack, peel off parchment, then invert again onto a serving platter. Spread half of the frosting evenly over the surface of the first cake. Add the second layer and spread remaining frosting on top. Cut and serve. Cover leftovers and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Carrot Cake

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