Recipe: Carrot Cake

This is the recipe for the carrot cake that I made for my birthday in July. I actually wanted to make a NY Cheese Cake, but it was so hot outside and cheese cakes need so much time to settle after it is baked, that I was afraid it would go bad overnight. Therefore I searched my file with pie/muffin/cake recipes and found a carrot cake recipe that I had saved & printed ages ago. This recipe is NOT my own, but I think anyone who had a piece of it, can attest that it’s really good and who am I to keep a perfectly fine carrot cake recipe from you guys? So here it goes!

This is what you should get by the end of it:

Ingredients:

Cake:

1 cup (100 grams) of toasted and coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts (I prefer pecans because they taste better)

3/4 pound (340 grams) raw carrots, finely grated (about 2 1/2 cups)

2 cups (280 grams) all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda (in Holland you can buy this at pharmacies, you should ask for ‘zuiveringszout’)

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

4 large eggs

1 1/2 cups (300 grams) granulated white sugar (Dutch: kristalsuiker)

1 cup (240 ml) safflower, vegetable or canola oil (I used sunflower oil)

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Frosting:

1/4 cup (57 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

8 ounces (227 grams) cream cheese, room temperature

2 cups (230 grams) confectioner’s sugar (Dutch: poedersuiker), sifted

finely grated lemon zest of one lemon

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

 

Preparation:

Cake:

– Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place rack in the center of the oven

– Butter or spray two cake pans (9×2 inch or 23×5 cm) and line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper. You can also use one cake pan (my oven only fits one) and bake the cake in 2 installments.

– Toast the pecans or walnuts for about 8 minutes. Let cool and chop coarsely. (You can skip this step if you go to a place specialized in selling nuts. They often sell pretoasted pecans and walnuts)

– Peel and finely grate the carrots. Set aside.

– In a separate bowl whisk together the flour,  baking soda, baking powder, salt and ground cinnamon. Set aside.

– In another bowl, use your mixer, to beat the eggs until frothy. (about 1 minute)

– Gradually add the sugar and beat until the batter is thick and light colored. (about 3 – 4 minutes)

– Add the oil in a steady stream and then beat in the vanilla extract.

– Add the flour mixture and beat until incorporated. (It’s best if you keep adding little bits, rather than chucking it all in there in one go)

– With a large rubber spatula fold in the grated carrots and chopped nuts.

– Evenly divide the batter between the two prepared pans and bake 25 – 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

– Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.

– After 5 – 10 minutes invert the cakes onto the wire rack, remove the pans and parchment paper and let cool completely before frosting.

Frosting:

– In a bowl, using a mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter, on low speed, just until blended with no lumps.

– Gradually add the sifted powdered sugar and beat, on low speed, until fully incorporated and smooth.

– Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest.

Assembling the cake:

– Place on cake layer, top side down, onto your serving plate.

– Spread with about one third of the frosting.

– Gently place the other cake, top facing down, onto the frosting.

– Spread the rest of the frosting over the top and sides of the cake.

– If desired, press toasted and finely chopped nuts on the sides of the cake and decorate the top of the cake with marzipan carrots.

– Cover and refrigerate.

Tips:

– It is best to bake the cake itself the day before you need it. You can make the frosting the day you want to serve it. Just make sure you refrigerate it long enough after frosting the cake. Letting it settle is important for the frosting of the cake to become sticky enough.

– For a moister cake you can add 1/2 cup of crushed pineapple (well drained) or applesauce to the batter when you add the oil and vanilla extract. You may have to bake the cake a few minutes longer.

– You can also bake one cake (instead of two) and use a 9x13x2 inch (or 23x33x5 cm) cake pan. Just increase the baking time to between 30 – 40 minutes. You can then cut the cake in half after letting it cool.

– I have a very small oven and had to bake the cakes in different installments. I also only have one cake pan. If you are in a similar situation, you can just reuse the cake ban after letting the first cake cool and transferring it to a wire rack. Make sure you store the leftover batter (covered of course) in a fridge to prevent it from going bad.

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