Wednesday, March 18, 2009

"It was Moist for Days"

Remember how I said my Dad traditionally gets carrot cake for his birthday? This year was no different in spirit, but my mother changed up the substance and tried a new recipe for an old favorite. This one has one major advantage over the one we've been using, which is that the carrots are grated right into the batter, rather than cooked and pureed. For the frosting, she decided to skip the majority of the sugar and just go ahead and carry cream cheese frosting to its logical extreme, spreading the barely adulterated cream cheese right on the cake. It was delicious, and as she emphasized in the email that accompanied the recipe, it was moist for days.

Here is the original recipe and her alterations (from necessity and desire):

Three Layer (I made two) Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting Originally from Bon Appetit 1994


  • 2 cups sugar

  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil (I used ¾ c. canola, ¼ c. peanut, ½ c. applesauce)

  • 4 large eggs

  • 2 cups all purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 2 teaspoons baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 3 cups finely grated peeled carrots (about 1 pound)

  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (about 1/2 ounce) (I used walnuts)

  • 1/2 cup raisins (I used yellow and dark)


  • 4 cups powdered sugar (I used maybe 1 cup max.)

  • 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature (I used 12 oz. fat free cream cheese)

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature (I omitted this)

  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract (I used 2 teaspoons)


For cake:
Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly grease three 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Line bottom of pans with waxed paper. Lightly grease waxed paper. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and vegetable oil in bowl until combined. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg into sugar and oil mixture. Stir in carrots, chopped pecans and raisins.

Pour batter into prepared pans, dividing equally. Bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean and cakes begin to pull away from sides of pans, about 45 minutes.(Two layers took a bit more time) Cool in pans on racks 15 minutes. Turn out cakes onto racks and cool completely. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap tightly in plastic and store at room temperature.)

For frosting:
Using electric mixer, beat all ingredients in medium bowl until smooth and creamy.

Place 1 cake layer on platter. Spread with 3/4 cup frosting. Top with another cake layer. Spread with 3/4 cup frosting. Top with remaining cake layer. Using icing spatula, spread remaining frosting in decorative swirls over sides and top of cake. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cover with cake dome and refrigerate.) Serve cake cold or at room temperature.