Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Birthday Carrot Cake

carrot ck6

Today is my birthday.
So now you know.

My favorite cake in the whole world is a carrot cake.
Yes, I am a simple girl.

I've loved it ever since I was a kid.

My mother in law makes a good version that is not too sweet, and my friend Sally, who makes me a birthday dinner every year (tradition), always bakes me a carrot cake.
Last year, she made me 2!
One rustic, one smooth. I liked the rustic, messy looking one, best.

Would you believe I have never made my own carrot cake?
It's true.

I have collected recipes over the years that looked good, but never attempted baking one.

Here are my carrot cake preferences:

~ I don't like the addition of pineapple or coconut, makes the cake too sweet and wet.
~ Must have raisins in a carrot cake.
~ I am not a huge fan of overly sweet icing, so I decided to half the cream cheese icing recipe and spread it on thinly.
~ Must have walnuts.

Ok, that's not too demanding.

I don't own 2 round cake pans, so I couldn't make the bakery version 2 layers of cake with the icing in between the layers, and I didn't want to bake it in a loaf pan, so I did it in a bundt pan.

I chose Alton Brown's recipe, because he uses nutmeg and other spices which I like, and he also uses yogurt, which made the cake so moist and a bit healthy!

Alton is very scientific. I kept my oven at 350F and baked the cake for an hour, but you can follow his instructions to turn the oven down to 325 after 45 minutes and then bake another 20 minutes.

Alton Brown's Carrot Cake:

Unsalted butter, for the pan
12 ounces, approximately 2 1/2 cups, all-purpose flour, plus extra for pan
12 ounces grated carrots, medium grate, approximately 6 medium
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 ounces sugar, approximately 1 1/3 cups
2 ounces dark brown sugar, approximately 1/4 cup firmly packed
3 large eggs
6 ounces plain yogurt
6 ounces vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter and flour a 9-inch round and 3-inch deep cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside.

Put the carrots into a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Put the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and process for 5 seconds. Add this mixture to the carrots and toss until they are well-coated with the flour.

In the bowl of the food processor combine the sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and yogurt.

With the processor still running drizzle in the vegetable oil. Pour this mixture into the carrot mixture and stir until just combined. Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 45 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325 degrees F and bake for another 20 minutes or until the cake reaches 205 to 210 degrees F in the center.

Remove the pan from the oven and allow cake to cool 15 minutes in the pan. After 15 minutes, turn the cake out onto a rack and allow cake to cool completely. Frost with cream cheese frosting after cake has cooled completely.

Cream Cheese Icing:
(this is the original recipe, but I only made half of it)

8 ounces cream cheese
2 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
9 ounces powdered sugar, sifted, approximately 2 cups
I added the zest of an orange

In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese and butter on medium just until blended. Add the vanilla and beat until combined. With the speed on low, add the powdered sugar in 4 batches and beat until smooth between each addition.

Place the frosting in the refrigerator for 5 to 10 minutes before using.

Please don't judge my horrible frosting technique, I used a butter knife.
Though it is probably the ugliest cake I have ever made, it sure tasted yummy!


Jen_from_NJ said...

Happy Birthday Stace!! Enjoy your special day! I am also a big fan of carrot cake with cream cheese icing:)

Anonymous said...


StaceyEsq said...

Happy Birthday, Stace! Enjoy your day (and that delicious carrot cake)! xoxoxox -- Stace

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Happy Happy Birthday Stacey. May the years continue to treat you well. I think anybody would be happy to have that cake on her birthday. How wonderful that your friend makes you a dinner each year. Your first carrot cake looks like a winner!

The Japanese Redneck said...

Happy B'day Stacey. I'm glad you got your favorite cake even if you had to make it.

It looks great to me. You should see some of

Hope you have a wonderful day today!!!

Proud Italian Cook said...

Happy, Happy, Birthday Stacey! I hope you have a wonderful day. I wish I could be there to celebrate with you. I have to admit carrot cake is my all time favorite cake too. Have fun today!

Memória said...

Happy birthday, Stacey!! Carrot cake is my mom's favorite cake, too. She even has the same requirements as you do.

A Feast for the Eyes said...

Happy Birthday to you! I am with you on the carrot cake. I like a little frosting, but not a ton and I agree with your preferences (though, I do like pineapple). You did a fabulous job, Stace! The carrot cake I also love is Ina's. I make it without the frosting, and dust it with just powdered sugar. Alton's looks very "tryworthy".
I hope that you enjoy your special day. Go! Get off the computer and enjoy the day.

The Food Hunter said...

Happy Birthday Stacey!!

Olga said...

Happy bday!!!
That icing looks really really good. Too bad it's impossible to reach and lick the beaters.

Karen said...

Happy Birthday!

Steve said...

Happy Birthday Stacey. Hope it's a great day. With cake like that you can't miss.

Dana said...

Awwww. Happy birthday to you friend! I'll be thinking of you today.

Culinary Cory said...

Happy Birthday! Hope you have a great day.

Catherine said...

Happy birthday, Stacey! May the next year be filled with friends, fun and delicious food.

Alexa said...

Happy Birthday Stacey! I can sing it in French--want to hear: Joyeux Anniversaire! Joyeux Anniversaire!

Warmest wishes! May this year be as sweet as a gazillion carrot cakes! :-)
I'm a December baby too, mine was last week. Have a great time celebrating!

kat said...

Sorry I missed this yesterday. Happy belated birthday! I love a carrot cakes too & that one looks so good.

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Alton Brown is the man. Happy belated birthday Stacey. Celebrate all week long is our motto - or at least as long as you can get by with it. Hope you have many, many more.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday, Stacey, from one December baby (my b-day is the 21st) to another!


Anonymous said...

Happy Belated Birthday, Stacey! I hope you had a wonderful day. I love reading your daily posts! Anna from Cedar Knolls

Lori Lynn said...

I'm with you on the carrot cake! Happy belated birthday Stace.

Anonymous said...

I want to quote your post in my blog. It can?
And you et an account on Twitter?

lisa said...

I'm finally catching up on blog reading this morning. Happy belated Birthday! I'm a big fan of carrot cake too.

Lyss said...

I am looking for a perfect carrot cake recipe - I agree that raisins are a MUST! I see raisins in your photo, but none in the recipe... did you add them?