Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
One of the most-requested cakes for birthdays, carrot cake, frosted with a thick layer of cream cheese frosting, is a hearty celebratory dessert that became popular in the 1970s. It is surprisingly simple to make. If desired, you can leave the cake in the pan and frost just the top for easy transport to a picnic. To make the dessert truly decadent, serve with vanilla or maple nut ice cream.
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For the cake:
- 4 large carrots
- 2 cups cake flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. ground mace
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/4 cups canola oil
- Grated zest of 1 orange
- 1/2 cup raisins, plumped in hot water
- 1 cup walnuts or pecans, toasted and chopped
For the cream cheese frosting:
- 8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at
- 1 lb. cream cheese, at room temperature
- 10 oz. white chocolate, melted
- Juice of 1 orange, strained
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
Directions:Preheat an oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking pan.
To make the cake, peel and grate the carrots. You should have about 3 cups. Set aside.
Over a sheet of parchment paper or a plate, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and mace. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the sugar, eggs, oil and orange zest and whisk thoroughly to combine. Stir in the carrots. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour mixture until almost completely incorporated. Add the raisins and nuts and fold to mix thoroughly. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Watch the time closely at the end so the cake does not overbake. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Place a cake rack on top of the pan, invert them together and lift off the pan. Let the cake cool completely. Cover the cake with a slightly damp clean kitchen towel so the outside does not dry out as it cools.
To make the cream cheese frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or using a hand mixer, beat together the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until thoroughly mixed. Reduce the speed to low, pour in the melted white chocolate and beat until fully combined. Beat in the orange juice and vanilla.
Transfer the cooled cake to a serving platter. Using an icing spatula, frost the cake with a thick layer of the frosting. Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Makes one 9-by-13-inch cake.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Essentials of Baking, by Cathy Burgett, Elinor Klivans & Lou Seibert Pappas (Oxmoor House, 2003).
- All About Carrots