Thursday, September 18, 2008

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

Laugh all you like, but until last week, I'd never made a carrot cake. It's one of my favorite desserts to eat so why have I never baked one before? No one knows. Thanks to Amber's Delectable Delights ( for answering my online call for a great recipe. I have copied the recipe below just as Amber sent it to me. It is originally from Baking Illustrated by Cooks Illustrated.

If you need some sort of orange dessert for the fall/Halloween season coming, this would be ideal! Add some scary bugs made out of jube jubes and licorice string on top for some spooky flair! ;)

Ingredients & Preparation
(recipe from Amber's Delectable Delights & original from Baking Illustrated). If you like nuts in your cake, stir in 1 1/2 cups of toasted chopped pecans or walnuts into the batter, along with the carrots. Raisins are also a good addition. 1 cup can be added with the carrots. If you add both nuts & raisins, your cake will need an extra 10-12 minutes in the oven. Below are instructions for using a hand-held or standing mixer.
  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12 1/2 ounces)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves (I didn't have cloves so they were not used in my version)
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 pound medium carrots (6 to 7 carrots), peeled (I used organic)
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (10 1/2 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil , safflower oil, or canola oil
Cream Cheese Icing
  • 8 ounces cream cheese , softened but still cool
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter softened, but still cool
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups confectioner's sugar

1. For the cake: Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 13 by 9-inch baking pan (or 2, 9" round cake pans) with nonstick cooking spray. Line bottom of pan with parchment and spray parchment.

2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt in large bowl; set aside.

3. In food processor fitted with large shredding disk, shred carrots (you should have about 3 cups); transfer carrots to bowl and set aside. Wipe out food processor workbowl and fit with metal blade. Process granulated and brown sugars and eggs until frothy and thoroughly combined, about 20 seconds. With machine running, add oil through feed tube in steady stream. Process until mixture is light in color and well emulsified, about 20 seconds longer. Scrape mixture into medium bowl. Stir in carrots and dry ingredients until incorporated and no streaks of flour remain. Pour into prepared pan and bake until toothpick or skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking time. Cool cake to room temperature in pan on wire rack, about 2 hours.

4. For the frosting: When cake is cool, process cream cheese, butter, sour cream, and vanilla in clean food processor workbowl until combined, about 5 seconds, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Add confectioners' sugar and process until smooth, about 10 seconds.

5. Run paring knife around edge of cake to loosen from pan. Invert cake onto wire rack, peel off parchment, then invert again onto serving platter. Using icing spatula, spread frosting evenly over surface of cake. Cut into squares and serve. (Cover leftovers and refrigerate for up to 3 days.)


Joelen said...

Hello... that looks soo good! I seriously think your pics rock. I mean, look! I can see actual specks of cinnamon in your cake! :)

Liam said...

Hey, couldn't figure out how to message you directly so I'll ask here.

I'm organizing a potluck lunch at work and I was wondering if you had any suggestions for something tasty but somewhat portable that I can haul into work. The lunch will be an hour and serve about 250 people. Obviously there is going a ton of food but I wanted to avoid egg salad sandwiches and baby carrots. Thanks!

(p.s I finally made those chorizo corn dog bites you posted a while ago and they were a hit!)

better than takeout said...

Hi Liam,

Sorry - I didn't see your message until today! I've been really sick and haven't been cooking at all. Sorry I couldn't help with your potluck menu - hope it went well.