Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The World's Best Carrot Cake

I wish I invented the recipe, but I didn't. One pet peeve I have is when people take credit for others recipes, or when they change one tiny thing and say it's their own. I read alot of blogs and around the holidays I'm always amazed at how many people pawn the Oreo Truffle recipe off as their own. I always try and list the source of my recipe. There are some I have that are my own, but I'll fully admit and give credit where credit is due and owing.

More importantly...onto the carrot cake!

I LOVE carrot cake. I don't eat it alot because there's probably a bizillion calories in it. In all seriousness, I think one time I looked at the Cheesecake Factory's nutritional info on their website...something I suggest you don't do, because I had heart palpitations when I read that their carrot cake had something crazy like 84 grams of fat in one piece. My pants just got tighter when I typed that.

But, since the holidays were near, it's time to indulge since every Tom, Dick, and Harry will be joining me at the gym next week. I need to stake my claim in my favorite classes...it's like a dog peeing on the same telephone pole. The new people need to know that I yoga by the wall because I hate bending over in people's faces and that I turbokick near the weight rack because I sweat like a man and need water frequently.

But...back to the carrot cake. I've tried about 5 different recipes. This one is the best. I omit the raisins, because my sister, Heidi, told me raisins are the devil, and I'm a people pleaser, so no raisins this Christmas. I'm not a huge fan of the frosting that goes with this recipe, but with this cake, it works. I've made better cream cheese frostings with vanilla bean in it, but after making the cakes, putting them together, this easy frosting recipe works.

Here are my raisin-less carrot cakes fresh out of the oven...

Here's my finished product. My carrot top is a bit pathetic looking. As I went to pipe it, I asked Mr. Allan what the top of a carrot looks like. He said he didn't know but could google it. We just guessed...moments like that that make me smile!

The secret in this recipe is a can of crushed pineapple. I also don't shred my own carrots, I use the store bought matchstick carrots. I think they're a little thicker and give this carrot cake a nice hearty look and taste. I do add nuts, I realize some may have nut allergies but the walnuts make this cake for me. Raisins would be nice to, but as we know..raisins are the devil according to my sister.

This recipe came from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa. I remember seeing her make it when I was watching her show on Food Network. I was practically drooling. I have a soft spot for carrot cake even though I'm not a cream cheese person. It trumped the previous recipe I had been using and it would make an awesome cupcake recipe.

Barefoot Contessa's Carrot Pineapple Cake

For the cake:
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 pound carrots, grated
1/2 cup diced fresh pineapple
For the frosting:
3/4 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter 2 (8-inch) round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.

For the cake:

Beat the sugar, oil, and eggs together in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light yellow. Add the vanilla. In another bowl, sift together 2 1/2 cups flour, the cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Toss the raisins and walnuts with 1 tablespoon flour. Fold in the carrots and pineapple. Add to the batter and mix well.

Divide the batter equally between the 2 pans. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool completely in the pans set over a wire rack.

For the frosting:
Mix the cream cheese, butter and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until just combined. Add the sugar and mix until smooth.

Place 1 layer, flat-side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake. Decorate with diced pineapple.

Just some notes from me:
* I used pre-cut carrots from my grocery store. They were sold in 10oz pkgs, and I used about 1 1/2 pkgs
* I also used a small can of crushed pineapple. I drained it and threw the whole can in, I think it was a little more than a 1/2 cup.
* I also added in about 1/2- 3/4 tsp of fresh grated nutmeg...it just smells so nice and I felt like it was a welcome addition
* I greased and floured my pans because I ran out of parchment paper...it worked like a charm
* Sift your powdered sugar. I loathe sifting powdered sugar, but in this frosting, the bumps really show if you're going for a great looking cake
* I also needed more than 1lb of powdered sugar. After adding 1 lb of Domino Confectioner's Sugar, the frosting was a bit soft. I knew I wanted to pipe some decorations and I added about another 1/2 cup. It turns out in the end, that I needed more. I tried to pipe around the base of the cake but the frosting was way too soft.


1 comment:

  1. I tried this yesterday and it turned out relatively well. I thought it was a bit too sweet so next time I may reduce the sugar by a bit. I did love the texture and the richness of it. I used pecans instead of walnuts.