Sorry I’ve been slow to post lately. I have a big backlog of photos & recipes but haven’t had time to edit/proof lately. The new job is keeping me really busy ( and life too)! Fall always keeps us on the road a bunch and weekends fill with family trips and visitors, which makes it hard to keep up with blogging on top of a new busy day time job. I’m weeks behind when it comes to Project Pastry Queen (on the verge of having to call it quits for a bit sadly), and may even need to take an official blogging hiatus but we’ll see if I can squeeze in some time for one or two updates a week. So bear with me for a bit as I find a new balance!
Its hard to believe but its only mid-September and the windows are open and I am bummed out on the couch with the laptop in hand. You know what that means? Fall is upon is because its actually cool enough today for us to have the windows open and I love it! I’m ready for temps to continue dropping! Especially because Fall means lots of Pumpkin goodies and I’ve been craving pumpkin for months and have been trying to hold off until at least mid-September. Now that open window season is up on us (however temporary), I’ll get busy with some pumpkin treats in the kitchen. Yum.
Carrot cake also makes me think of Fall, not as much as pumpkin, but definitely fall-ish in my book. I guess its the spices? Whatever it is, its delicious! I actually whipped this cake up a few months ago for my sister-in-law’s birthday per her request. It was fantastic. Hubby loved it too even though he doesn’t consider himself a carrot cake fan. Enjoy!
Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon salt
3 cups grated carrots (~ 9 carrots)
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
1 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries (I omit)
2 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil
4 large eggs
For the frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick (8 Tbsp) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 pound (3 ¾ cups) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or ½ teaspoon pure lemon extract
½ cup shredded coconut (optional)
Finely chopped toasted nuts and/or toasted shredded coconut, for topping (optional)
Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 325°F. Butter three 9-x-2-inch round cake pans, flour the insides, and tap out the excess. Put the two pans on one baking sheet and one on another.
To make the cake: Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, stir together the carrots, chopped nuts, & coconut. Working with a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the sugar and oil together on a medium speed until smooth. Add the eggs one by one and continue to beat until the batter is smooth. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture, mixing only until the dry ingredients disappear. Gently mix the chunky ingredients. Divide the batter among the baking pans.
Bake for 40-50 minutes, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point, until a thin knife inserted into the centers comes out clean. The cakes will have just started to come away from the sides of the pans. Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes and unmold them. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.
The cakes can be wrapped airtight and kept at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to 2 months.
To make the frosting: Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until the frosting is velvety smooth. Beat in the lemon juice/extract.
If you’d like coconut in the filling, scoop about half of the frosting and stir the coconut into this position.
To assemble the cake:
Put one layer top side up on a cardboard cake round or a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper. If you added the coconut to the frosting, use half of the coconut frosting to generously cover the first layer (or generously cover with plain frosting). Use an offset spatula or a spoon to smooth the frosting all the way to the edges of the layer. Top with the second layer, this time placing the cake stop side down, and frost with the remainder of the coconut frosting or plain frosting. Top with the last layer, right side up, and frost the top- and the sides- of the cake. Finish the top with swirls of frosting. If you want to top the cake with toasted nuts or coconut, sprinkle them on now while the frosting is soft.
Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes, just to set the frosting before serving.
Serving/Storing: This cake can be served as soon as the frosting is set. It can also wait, at room temperature and covered with a cake keeper overnight. The cake is best served in thick slices at room temperature and while it’s good plain, it’s even better with vanilla ice cream or some lemon curd. The cake will keep at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. It can also be frozen. Freeze it uncovered, then when it’s firm, wrap airtight and freeze for up to 2 months. Defrost, still wrapped, overnight in the refrigerator.
Source: Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan