Burst media_leaderboard

Follow Me on Pinterest

Follow Me on Pinterest

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Super Amazing Carrot Cake

According to food historians, our modern carrot cake most likely descended from the carrot puddings enjoyed by the Europeans during the Medieval times, and from there, evolved into what we now enjoy.  At the time, sugar and other sweeteners were scarce or expensive.  Carrots, however, contain more sugar than any other vegetable besides the sugar beet, and were easy to come by, so they were used all over Great Britain and Europe as a sugar substitute in sweet desserts.  It is believed that the popularity of carrot cake was revived in Britain due to the rationing of sugar once again during the Second World War. 
 
As many of you can attest to, carrot cake is usually denser than a traditional cake and is expected to have a coarser crumb.  One look at the photo of this one will tell you that this recipe is anything BUT dense.  Oh MY GOSH.... it was SO tender and moist!  I would LOVE to take the credit for this recipe, but I really can't.  It's pretty much the way my mom does it.  Yep.  Go ahead and shake your head.  I had some at her house recently, and it was of one of those "Oh my GOD, I have GOT to make this!" moments.  And then out of the blue, my 6 year old son tells me, "Mom, did you know that I really like carrot cake?"  So of course that was pretty much the 1 - 2 knock out punch.  Game on! 

Print this Recipe!

Ingredients:
Cake
  • 3 cups finely grated carrots (not pre-shredded)
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 eggs, well beaten
  • 1 3/4 cups canola oil
  • 1 tsp good quality vanilla
  • 1/2 cup crushed pineapple,  semi-drained
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup butter (12 Tbsp) butter, softened
  • 1 (16 oz) pkg + 1 1/2 cup extra confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tsp good quality vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 - 2 cups chopped pecan pieces 
    • (optional for garnish)
Step-by-Step:  
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Prepare three, 9" cake pans with nonstick cooking spray and granulated sugar (or flour) to cover.  Next cut out parchment paper circles (for extra insurance), and fit the circles in the bottom of the pans.  This will ensure that the cakes will not stick to the pans.  No way do I want to do all this work just to let my cakes stick!  No way, Jose!!!  Plus, this is always a step that my kiddos like to do while I'm getting everything else started.  
Cooking spray + granulated sugar
Canon is cutting out parchment circles after tracing around the cake pans
Nope.  It doesn't matter if they are "perfect."  Just let the kids help.  You'll be glad you did.  :)
Now the next big thing is to prep all the ingredients.  Go ahead and take the 4 eggs out so they can come to room temperature.   I have professional "egg cracker" always at the ready for this job!
Let's start grating those carrots.  You do NOT want to use pre-grated carrots.  They are too heavy, too dense, and too dry for this recipe.  They will just fall to the bottom of the batter.  You also do not want to put them in the food processor, as this will make them too wet.  For this, my friends, you need to go old school and pull out the hand grater.  Luckily, I have the perfect little volunteers who were just itching to do this job!  Now I'm sure you are aware that hand graters come in various sizes for the actual grating.  We want finely grated carrots for this recipe.  That means, use your fine grater.  Yes, I'm aware that one takes longer.  But these will just about melt into the batter and be so tender that you will thank me!

3 cups of finely grated carrots equates to roughly about a pound of carrots
Alright... ready?  Well here we go!  Combine the first 7 ingredients.  I suggest doing this in a stand mixer, as this makes a pretty stiff batter at the beginning. 
3 cups finely shredded carrots
2 cups cake flour (I used Swans Down)
1 tsp baking powder.  My children loved that the baking powder can came with its own self leveling device, in that there is a straight edge built in.  They thought that was the absolute coolest thing!

1/2  tsp salt  +  2 tsp baking soda

2 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Combine all those ingredients first.  It may seem pretty stiff with all the carrots.  Next, stir in the beaten eggs, oil, and vanilla.  Mixing well.

4 eggs, well beaten
Okay... don't have a fit about this!  This makes the cake so moist and keeps it from being so dense and "packy" like most carrot cakes.  Don't over-think it.  It's a 3-layer cake, for Pete's sake! 
1 3/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp good quality vanilla (I'm channeling Ina Garten when I say that.)  :)
Now we are going to load it up with extra goodies!
1/2  cup shredded, sweetened coconut
1/2 cup crushed, canned pineapple (I semi-drained it against the side of the can.  Not completely.)
Mix well to incorporate, then pour the batter into the 3 prepared (greased and floured) 9-inch round cake pans that we fit the parchment rounds into.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle.  You should also see the cake pulling away from the sides of the pan slightly.  Cool the cakes in the pans for about 10 minutes on wire cooling racks.  Then run a knife around the edges, invert onto a cooling rack, and allow to cool completely before you try to frost them.  You need some time to make the frosting anyway, right? 
Can you see how nicely the parchment peels off of the bottom?  There's nothing like doing all that work, and then having a big chunk of cake stick to the bottom.  That will definitely put a damper on your day!
Let's make the cream cheese frosting now, while we wait for the cake layers to cool.

Combine the cream cheese and butter, beating until smooth.  Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, almond extract, and beat until light and fluffy.  This will take a WHILE!  The cream cheese has to soften and heat up before it will allow itself to aerate and get fluffy and expand.  It will like.... double... but only if you give it ample TIME... like about TEN MINUTES in the stand mixer!  So be patient.  This is not my strong suit.  So be prepared.  I told you so.
The butter will soften better if cut into Tbsp first.  And this is also an opportunity to work on counting and equal portions.
12 Tbsp butter, softened
1 (8oz) pkg cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 (16oz) pkg + 1 1/2 cup extra confectioners' sugar
Preferably sifted.  I didn't sift mine, and I had some lumps.  Do take the time to sift!
You should also take the time to do a quick taste test.  Yum!
Now when your cakes are completely cool, we are ready to ice the cake.  This will be a 3 layer cake.  Well, duhh.  You knew that, right? To avoid having the frosting all over my cake pedestal, we cut up some parchment into some quasi triangular pieces.  This will allow them to slip out easily afterwards.  Spread frosting between each other layers, then the top, then the sides. 

Now add about a cup or so of pecan pieces (really however many your heart desires) to the frosting. If you don't like nuts, or if someone has a nut allergy, leave them off.
Gently remove the "slices" of parchment paper.
And serve it to some people you adore!

Just look at the delicate crumb of this cake!  There is NOTHING dense about this cake at all!
But here's what you have to be careful of (especially when there are sneaky grandparents and grandchildren all together!) .... I think you may have to agree that a cake such as this can be awfully hard to resist.  So when you have your nice shot all set up... and you turn around... and turn back again.... you may see something like this -
(Just when you thought they were all out on the lake tubing!)
"Oh Mom, were you still using that cake?"
Now look at Papa coming in for a bite, too!  Okay, this photo shoot is officially OVER! LOL!!

I hope you enjoyed this amazingly delicious recipe!
There are hundreds more in my Recipe Index, just waiting to be chosen and cooked!  You can also visit my Film strips for pinning page, to see whole recipes at a glance, and to click-and-go right to the recipe.

The Menu Musings cookbook is sure to be a hit at your house, and will make great gifts!  For more information, here is a link!
Order a signed copy of the Menu Musings Cookbook! 
Connect with me.    
If you are new to MenuMusings, click here to subscribe so you won't miss a thing!  I'll send you notifications of new posts to help you avoid that proverbial cooking rut.  You can also follow me on Pinterest and on the MenuMusings facebook page.

Also, Please be sure to visit my YouTube Channel for short video tutorials on selected videos.  Watch me explain the steps of the recipes in just a few minutes!  Just one more way that I'm giving you the tools to get in that kitchen!!! Aren't you curious?  Click and see how many there are!  :)

Here's just one delicious example -  Thai Coconut Lime Chicken! (just click to watch)

Here are some bonus recipes for you!
Honey Dijon Pretzel Crusted Chicken

Korean BBQ Shish Kabobs 

Homemade Corn Dogs 

Easy Meatball Sub Casserole 

Short Cut Chicken Gnocchi Soup 

BLT Buffalo Chicken Wrap 

Written Method:  

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Prepare three, 9" cake pans with nonstick cooking spray and granulated sugar (or flour) to cover.  Next cut out parchment paper circles (for extra insurance), and fit the circles in the bottom of the pans.  This will ensure that the cakes will not stick to the pans.  Go ahead and take the 4 eggs out so they can come to room temperature. 
Let's start grating those carrots.  You do NOT want to use pre-grated carrots.  They are too heavy, too dense, and too dry for this recipe.  They will just fall to the bottom of the batter.  You also do not want to put them in the food processor, as this will make them too wet.  For this, my friends, you need to go old school and pull out the hand grater.  Now I'm sure you are aware that hand graters come in various sizes for the actual grating.  We want finely grated carrots for this recipe.  That means, use your fine grater.  Yes, I'm aware that one takes longer.  But these will just about melt into the batter and be so tender that you will thank me!
Combine the first 7 ingredients.  I suggest doing this in a stand mixer, as this makes a pretty stiff batter at the beginning.  Combine all those ingredients first.  It may seem pretty stiff with all the carrots.  Next, stir in the beaten eggs, oil, and vanilla.  Mixing well.  Now load it up with the extra goodies - the coconut and semi-drained pineapple.  Mix well to incorporate, then pour the batter into the 3 prepared (greased and floured) 9-inch round cake pans that we fit the parchment rounds into.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle.  You should also see the cake pulling away from the sides of the pan slightly.  Cool the cakes in the pans for about 10 minutes on wire cooling racks.  Then run a knife around the edges, invert onto a cooling rack, and allow to cool completely before you try to frost them.

Make the cream cheese frosting while you wait for the cake layers to cool.  Combine the cream cheese and butter, beating until smooth.  Add the powdered sugar, vanilla, almond extract, and beat until light and fluffy.  This will take a WHILE!  The cream cheese has to soften and heat up before it will allow itself to aerate and get fluffy and expand.  It will like.... double... but only if you give it ample TIME... like about TEN MINUTES in the stand mixer!  So be patient.  This is not my strong suit.  So be prepared.  I told you so.

Spread frosting between each other layers, then the top, then the sides.  Add about a cup or so of pecan pieces (really however many your heart desires) to the frosting. If you don't like nuts, or if someone has a nut allergy, leave them off.  Gently remove the "slices" of parchment paper.  Serve it to some people you adore!

5 comments:

  1. Wow..this looks so yummy... the cake looks so soft and delicious and your daughter looks so so pretty

    ReplyDelete
  2. I can't stop staring at that fuchsia mixer, LOVE IT! Cake looks delish!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you!!!! Santa brought it to me one year from the original Macy's! (Yep, The one in Miracle on 34th Street!) It's a gorgeous hot pink shimmery color!!! :)

      Delete
  3. lovely cake
    I´ll follow your blog from now onwards

    love from Spain
    Elena

    ReplyDelete

Follow me on Pinterest

Follow Me on Pinterest