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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Carrot Cake

I don't make cakes very often. Not because I don't enjoy making them - I do - but because I enjoy eating them so much. A whole cake has an awful lot of calories, so unless I have some guests lined up to help put them away, it is just too dangerous to have the darn things around. Sometimes though, I just can't help it. When this happens, I will individually wrap most of the slices and put them in the freezer... deep in the freezer with hopes that I'll forget they're in there.

This week, it was carrot cake that did me in. The carrots that I used were so bright orange. I wish that I had taken pictures, but sometimes I still get in the kitchen and forget to take my camera along for the ride. The strange thing was that once the cake was done and I started snacking on the trimmings, I wasn't sure I liked it. It was really carroty... and not necessarily in a good way. But, I figured I'd gotten that far, and it wasn't that much more work to make some frosting to see how the cake tasted with cream cheese goodness all over it. Boy am I glad I did. Something magical happens to these cakes when you apply the frosting. It's a match made in heaven!

Carrot Cake
adapted from the Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book, 1989

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp nutmeg
3 cups finely shredded carrot
1 cup cooking oil
4 eggs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Using a food processor or a box grater, shred the carrots. In a large bowl or stand mixer bowl mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and spices. Mix thoroughly. Add the carrot, oil, and eggs. Mix until combined but be careful not to over mix.

Prepare pans with cooking spray and parchment liners in the bottom. Pour into two 9 inch round cake pans (or other similar volume pans - I used 8 mini round pans). Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 to 40 minutes, depending on the pan size. For 9 inch round pans, start checking after 30 minutes. Bake until a cake tester comes out clean.

Remove from oven and cool for about 10 minutes before removing from pans. I also like to cut the tops of the cakes flat with a long serrated knife before removing them from the pans. Cool completely on wire racks.

Once the cakes are completely cool, they can be frosted with cream cheese frosting. These cakes keep best in a refrigerator.

Cream Cheese Frosting
Yield: enough to frost one-two layer 9 inch round cake

1 8-oz package of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup softened butter
2 tsp vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar

Whip the cream cheese and butter together. Mix in the vanilla. Slowly add the powdered sugar one cup at a time. Whip on medium speed and add sugar until the frosting has a nice, spreadable consistency. You may need to use a little more less sugar to achieve the right consistency.

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