It's a hot, midsummer day and all we want to do is relax, eat popsicles and keep cool. That is, until I got it into my head that I desperately wanted carrot cake. Then my kitchen perspired with the preheating oven and I had flour on my clothes and orange hands from grating carrots.
Sure, I could have stopped by the store and gotten a cake, and saved myself all the extra heat and clean-up. But a store-bought cake will never be as good as a homemade cake (everyone knows that). Plus you get the added benefit of actually being able to pronounce the ingredients in the cake when making it at home, so there's that. This recipe was delicious and although the recipe below will say 12 servings, it's all right to make it just 4 and only share with your closest. I won't tell if you won't.
Spiced Carrot Cake
3 cups grated carrots
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained well
3/4 cup roughly chopped walnuts
1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
handful whole walnuts, for decor (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease with butter and line with parchment paper two 9-inch cake pans. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg until well mixed. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of your stand mixer (you may also mix by hand in a large bowl), add the eggs, oil, granulated sugar and packed brown sugar and beat until well blended. Add the grated carrots and vanilla extract and mix until combined. Gradually mix in the flour mixture. Last, gently fold in the crushed and drained pineapple, chopped walnuts and shredded coconut. Divide evenly into the two prepared cake pans.
4. Bake for approximately 35-40 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack. Do not ice until cakes have cooled completely.
5. Once cakes have cooled, prepare icing. In your cleaned stand mixer or large bowl, add cream cheese and butter. Beat until light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add vanilla extract, a pinch of salt, and the powdered sugar (because the cake is sweet, I like my icing to be a little tart. Add more powdered sugar if desired). Gently at first, whisk until the powdered sugar has unified with the icing, and then give it a last blast of whisking for about 2 more minutes.
6. Place your first cake onto the dish you will serve the cake on. Add a little less then half of the icing and spread evenly. Add second cake and spread the rest of icing. Decorate with walnuts if desired. Enjoy.