Another nut-less, chocolate-less recipe for you! One of my grandma's all-time favorite cakes is carrot cake, so I decided to take a stab at making one from scratch. I found this recipe online (from Joy of Baking), but omitted the nuts and added 1/2 a cup of crushed, drained pineapple. The pineapple made the cake incredibly moist, and adding lemon zest to the cream cheese frosting kept it tasting light and fresh despite the heaviness of the cream cheese. Next time I make it, I'll use pecans to add a bit more texture to the cake. I am not usually a big fan of carrot cake, but this one was great - and healthy, since it has carrots in it. Right? :)
3/4 pound raw carrots (about 2 1/2 cups finely grated)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
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
1 cup vegetable oil (or other flavorless oil)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup crushed pineapple (drained)
Directions:Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place rack in center of oven.
Butter or spray two - 9 x 2 inch (23 x 5 cm) cake pans and line the bottoms of the pans with a circle of parchment paper.
Toast the pecans or walnuts for about 8 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant. Let cool and then chop coarsely.
Peel and finely grate the carrots.
In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and ground cinnamon.
In bowl of electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), 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 just until incorporated.
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 to30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. After about 5 -10 minutes invert the cakes onto the wire rack, remove the pans and parchment paper, and then cool completely before frosting.
note: You can add 1 cup pecans or walnuts for added texture and flavor
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Directions:In bowl of electric mixer (or with a hand 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.