I made this cake for a coworker's birthday. Never attempted carrot cake before, and now I'm wondering why not! I've always loved the frosting (cream cheese, mmmm). The cake, though? I haven't eaten a ton of carrot cake in my lifetime, but when I have it is either (1) basically a plain old spice cake, or (2) has such huge chunks of shredded carrot that it's somewhat crunchy and very off-putting. I wanted to try my hand at this sort of thing, though, so I decided on this for a birthday cake. It's a 30+ year-old recipe, so it's gotta be good, right? I adapted it a bit to make a 9X13 sheet-like cake, and I had *just* enough batter left to fill a few ramekins, for making a "model cake" for the blog. Yes, I know. I'm so clever. Hubs is a lucky man to be married to me, I always find a way to make him a little extra ;)
23 March 2008
This cake was very good. The shredded carrot was soft and only detectable in that it gave the cake a sweet, mellow "carrot" flavor (sorry, how else does one describe that? Carrot-y?). This cake is also chock-full of goodies, coconut as well as dried cranberries and pecans, which was soooo nice and kept it from tasting like any old spicy cake. The crumb was very different - almost sticky, but verrry soft which was a nice contrast to the textures of the cranberries and pecans. A good light cake with chunky goodies tucked inside.
The frosting, I will admit, was not as "cream-cheesy" as I would have liked, but that very much could have been user error. However, I loved how she added coconut (something I hadn't seen in other frostings for carrot cakes). All in all a keeper! In fact, I'm dying to make this again right now. Maybe fuss with it a little bit, add some pineapple or different nuts or maybe even cocoa...
(from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home To Yours)
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. freshly grated cinnamon
3/4 tsp. salt
9 grated carrots (you want 3 c. of grated carrot)
1 c. coarsely chopped pecans
1 c. shredded coconut
1/2 c. dried cranberries
2 c. sugar1 c. canola oil
8 oz.cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 1/2 c. confectioners sugar, sifted
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1.5 c. shredded coconut
1/2 c. chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 325 F. Butter three 9 x 2 inch round cake pans, or one 9X13 pan (which is what I used). Flour the insides and tap our the excess. If using 3 pans, make sure you have 3 racks in the oven that are evenly spaced apart.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl stir together the carrots, pecans, coconut, and cranberries. Set both aside.
Using a stand mixer, mix together the oil and sugar together, until they are smooth. Add the eggs one by one, and beat until the batter is smooth. Reduce the speed and add the flour mixture, mixing only until the dry ingredients disappear.
Gently mix in the carrot mixture by hand. Divide the batter evenly among the pans (or add all to a 9X13). Bake for 40-50 min, or until a small knife comes out clean, and the cake has just started to move away from the sides of the pans. Allow to cool for 5 min on a cooling rack, and then unmold the cakes.
When cakes are cooled: Combine the cream cheese and butter in the stand mixer bowl, and using a paddle attachment mix until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar and beat until smooth. Add the lemon juice and mix until combined.
To assemble: Put aside half of the frosting. To the other half, add more shredded coconut (about 1/2 c.). Use this frosting between the three layers of cake. If desired, then frost the outside of the cake with the regular (non-coconut) frosting. I skipped this though, because I loved the look without. Smooth with a butter knife if desired. Sprinkle on the toasted coconut on the top, and using the palm of your hand lightly press the coconut into the sides of the cake.
Sprinkle the top of the cake with the pecan pieces. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes so that the icing can set; after that point, you can leave it at room temperature and covered. Cake will keep at room temperature for 3 days.