Monday, March 25, 2013

Carrot Cake

Is it too cliché to post a carrot cake recipe for Easter?  If so, then turn away but I warn you, you will be disappointed because this cake is that good.  Just ask Benjamin, the kid who doesn’t eat anything and had 2 slices.  This recipe compiles very similar recipes from Paula, Emeril and Ina.  There is a reason why they are so similar, it works.

Carrot Cake
1.      Butter or Pam, for pans
2.      2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
3.      Parchment paper rounds for 9 in round pans
4.      2 cups sugar
5.      2 teaspoons baking soda
6.      2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
7.      1 teaspoon salt
8.      4 eggs
9.      1 1/3 cups vegetable oil (Emeril uses 3 sticks unsalted butter instead)
10.  1 t vanilla
11.  3 cups grated carrots
12.  1 1/2 cups chopped pecans, optional

1.      2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
2.      1 stick salted butter, room temperature
3.      1 (16-ounce) box powdered sugar
4.      1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5.      1/2 cup chopped pecans, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 3 (9-inch) round pans.  Line bottom of the pans with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add eggs and vegetable oil. Using a hand or stand mixer, blend until combined. Add carrots and pecans, if using. (To grate carrots, I used a Cuisinart and grated first.  Then I returned the grated carrots to the bowl and cut them again with the regular blade.  This made a very fine grated carrot.  I used almost an entire bag of carrots to make 3 cups.)

Pour batter evenly into the 3 pans. Bake for approximately 30-35 minutes, check for doneness with a toothpick. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes. Remove from pans, place on waxed paper and allow to cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting:
Add all ingredients, except nuts, into a medium bowl and beat until fluffy using a hand or stand mixer.  Stir in the nuts, if using.  Spread frosting on top of each cake layer.  Stack the cakes on a serving plate, frost the sides and serve. 

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