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?
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!