Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Carrot Cake: To frost or Not to frost?

I know a lot of us have had some awful carrot cakes in our time but, please let me show you, how you can make it so your family will be coming back for seconds, no doubt!

My carrot cake recipe came from my mama's recipe box, I have altered some things here and there but, it has not taken away the wonderful taste of this classic carrot cake.  Another reason why I love this cake is because, it can be made as a breakfast bread, minus the frosting.  It can be made in a 13X9 cake pan and topped with some icing.

Or you can go over the top and make a three layer cake, loaded with cream cheese icing and coconut.  The third option is my son's favorite cake so much, it is now his birthday cake every year.  Mind you, my son is not a big vegetable eater by the way.


2 cups white flour (no self rising)

2 cups carrots (grated)

2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup (can) crushed pineapple

1 cup (sweetened) coconut flakes

2 cups walnuts

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup canola oil

1/4 cup butter

2 (whole) large eggs

2 egg yolks

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons (ground) cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 ripe banana (mashed well with a fork before adding to your mixing bowl)

1/2 cups applesauce (homemade is better)

Frosting Ingredients

1 1/2 cups butter (unsalted)

2- 8 ounce packages cream cheese

5 cups powdered sugar

1 Tablespoon Vanilla extract

You can decorate your layer cake with (sweetened) coconut, nuts and I will even toast coconut and add that, it just depends are what I have and the mood I am in.

We're Off

Preheat your oven at 350 degrees.  Grease and flour your cake pans and set aside.

In a big mixing bowl place your sifted flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt, mix then set aside.

This next step is essential:  Empty your can of crushed pineapple, open and place your pineapple into a mesh strainer.  With the back of your wooded spoon press out as much of the pineapple juice as you are able.

If you skip this step, you will be baking this cake for a long time and only end up with a burnt cake, that still jiggles in the middle.  

So please take the time to do this one step.

Let's Get Nutty...

My husband is so sweet he bought me a kitchenaid mixer but, if you do not have a stand up mixer than just use a bowl and a hand mixer, it will be just fine.

In your mixer/big bowl place your oil, eggs, sugar, buttermilk, carrots, coconut, pineapple, banana, applesauce and your vanilla extract. Mix on low for 2 minutes or until all ingredients are well incorporated.

I find it takes less time in a standing mixer. Add 1/2 your flour and mix for around 30 seconds and then add the other half of your flour, mix for another minute or until all flour is well incorporated.

Then stir your nuts into your batter with a spoon.

Pour in that Goodness

If you are making a sheet cake, pour your finished batter into a (well) greased & floured 13X9 cake pan, bake for 40 minutes or until a tooth pick is inserted in the middle of your cake and the toothpick comes out clean.  Cool on a rack and then frost.

If you want to make this a breakfast cake, omit the frosting, serve warm.  Making sure you have plenty of butter and honey to top it off.

Now if you are wanting to go all the way and make your carrot cake a bit fancy...

Pour your carrot cake batter into 3 'well' greased & floured 9 inch cake pans.  Bake for 30 minutes or until a tooth pick is inserted into the middle of your cakes and the tooth pick comes out clean.

Start Your Engines...

The day I am going to make this delicious cake, I take my butter and cream cheese out of the refrigerator and set them on my kitchen counter in the morning.  You need room temperature butter and cream cheese, or you end up with a chunky and not so tasty icing.

Place your softened butter and cream cheese in your mixing bowl, mix for 2 minutes until both ingredients are well incorporated and starting to get a bit fluffy. Turn your mixer on low and start to add your powdered sugar, one cup at a time.

Allow the powdered sugar to absorb into the butter/cream cheese before adding the next half of cup. Repeat until all powdered sugar is gone.

When all your powdered sugar is incorporated add your vanilla extract, turn your mixer up to medium and mix for 2 minutes, until you get a fluffy consistency.

You only need half of your icing if you are making a sheet cake, place the other half into a container (I am using Alabama Tupperware) and place in the freezer for your next cake.

When you want to make another sheet cake, take out your icing, place it in the refrigerator over night to thaw out.  When you are ready to use the icing, mix well.

Frosting 101

When I stated earlier that you are to grease and flour your cake pans, I really mean this when you are going to make this cake a 3 layer cake.  By well greasing and flouring your pans, you are then able to take these lovely cakes out with ease.

Also very important is, make sure your cakes are cooled down completely.

Lay your first layer down on your serving plate.  I do not cut this cake so as to make it even, I start with first layer and if I see that the first layer is a little lopsided, I will push it down, this cake if very forgiving.

When even then take 1/3 of your icing and ice the top and sides of that layer.  Repeat until you have covered all three layers.  I would usually tell you to place some wax/parchment paper around the cake, so you have a clean plate but, since you are adding coconut around the side, no one will spot a mistake and also, the coconut will hide any of the over flow of icing.

Make them Smile...

Yes there was a bit of work to be had but, all in all, putting a smile on the face of the ones you love it so well worth it.  Once you have made this cake a few times, it really comes a easy recipe and one, I am sure you will be serving many times over.

Homemade Applesauce

When serving brunch this is a wonderful breakfast bread to add to your mix, also try adding...

Baked Potato Quiche:  Mama's Got 'it' Loaded

All photographs are the property of Denise O.  Do not use unless you get 'my' written permission. All written material is owned by Denise O, it will not be 'used' (sharing my article is different, it is acceptable and appreciated) without 'my' written permission.  Just keeping it real folks.:)

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