Thursday, April 2, 2015

Cake of the Week: Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

You guys. My thesis may not be finished and my post-graduation future may be completely up in the air, but I finally found the right carrot cake recipe for me, so all is right with the world!

Everyone loves carrot cake. It's the cream cheese frosting, the spicy-ish flavor, and the delicious moist texture that adding veggies to desserts so often yields. But at the same time, everyone has their own carrot cake preferences. Nuts or no nuts? What about raisins? How crumbly? How chunky? Layer cake or sheet cake? 

I'm pretty positive I found the perfect balance in this recipe: carrots, pineapple, pecans, coconut, and the magic ingredient: apple sauce! This cake is all things a carrot cake should be, plus it's healthy(ish) -- just a quarter cup of oil in the whole cake. The frosting on the other hand...well, if the cake is healthier then that balances out the frosting, amiright? 

This is the perfect Easter/springtime/anytime dessert. RoommateRachel and I had seven friends over last night to celebrate East-Over: Matzo Ball Soup followed by this Carrot Cake. Deeelicious. We poured a glass of wine for Elijah, and then snacked on dark chocolate Easter eggs after dinner was over. Mash-up holidays really are the best. 

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting 

Cake Ingredients:
  • 1¼ c unsweetened applesauce 
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 2 c sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 c flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 c grated carrots
  • 1 c coconut
  • 1 c chopped nuts (optional -- pecans or walnuts)
  • 1 tsp vanilla or whiskey
  • 1 cup Dole crushed pineapple (not drained!) -- use the pineapple in JUICE not syrup.
Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:
  • ½ c butter (softened)
  • 8 oz cream cheese (softened)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2-3 cups powdered sugar
  • milk as needed
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine wet ingredients. 
  3. Mix in dry ingredients. 
  4. Stir in carrots, coconut, nuts, vanilla/whiskey and pineapple. 
  5. Pour into two greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans.
  6. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the cake just starts to pull away from the sides and the middle doesn't look gooey. Let cakes cool in pans for 10 minutes, then run a spatula or knife around the edges and turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling. The cakes must cool completely before frosting!
  7. For the frosting:
  8. Beat the butter and cream cheese thoroughly. Add in the vanilla and 2 cups powdered sugar and beat until and smooth. Add milk one splash (about a tablespoon at a time), along with the rest of the powdered sugar until it reaches a spreadable consistency.  
  9. Assemble: 
  10. Frost first layer (with a generous layer of frosting in the middle). Put second cake on top and frost first the sides and then the top of the cake. Decorate with coconut and chopped nuts and chocolate Easter eggs if desired.