Idiot-Proof Carrot Cake

The Hippie Husband loves carrot cake. Prior to dating him, I had never tried a carrot cake I could even pretend to like. But love makes us do crazy things. A couple of years ago, I decided to give the carrot genre a try for his birthday. A google search led me to this recipe for carrot cupcakes. This was my first visit to Annie’s Eats, and it’s now a blog I read regularly. So many readers had commented on how easy and tasty this recipe was, I gave it a whirl. The cupcakes were wonderful. Even I enjoyed them.

The following year, HH asked for a layer cake instead of cupcakes. Little Hippie and I gave this a try in a couple of round pans, and it was awfully successful for a woman who cannot pull off a layer cake to save her life. And I mean this – every layer cake I have attempted has turned out flat, dense, and oftentimes burnt along the sides. Except this one. We made it again last week for HH’s 35th birthday, and it was a breeze. A delicious, delicious breeze.

I think that the genius of this recipe lies in the fact that so much of it is done in the food processor. This makes the prep work go much more quickly, and it cuts out some of the cleanup.

I tried using the decorating tips to make traditional carrot designs using Wilton’s instructions, but it didn’t work out right away, and I didn’t have time to practice. The squiggle carrots were made using a Size 7 round tip and a size 2 tip for the carrot tops.

Cake Ingredients:

  • 2.5 cups flour
  • 1.25 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1.25 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled
  • 1.5 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1.5 cups canola oil

Cake Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two round cake pans.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices. Stir.
  3. Use the shredding disk of the food processor to shred the carrots. Dump shredded carrots on top of the dry ingredients.
  4. Wipe out the food processor bowl, then use the regular blade to cream the eggs, white sugar and brown sugar. The mix will look frothy – should take about 20 seconds.
  5.  Add the oil in a steady stream while continuing to process the eggs and sugar. Process until the mix turns lighter in color – about another 20 seconds.
  6. Add the wet mix to the dry mix and carrots. Stir gently until all the dry ingredients are integrated – stop once all the streaks of white disappear. The more you mix, the chewier the cake will be.
  7. Pour the cake batter into your prepared pans. I use my food scale to ensure that it’s an even division, but that might be overkill. Shake the pans gently to ensure that the batter is evenly distributed.
  8. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean. Start checking after 30 minutes. It usually takes closer to 45 minutes in our oven. I rotate the pans halfway through.
  9. Cool in pans for ten minutes, then run a knife around the sides and turn the cakes out onto a cooling rack. Cool completely before frosting.

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 12 oz. cream cheese
  • 8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 T. vanilla extract
  • 3.75 cups powdered sugar, sifted

Frosting Method:

  1. In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth.
  2. Mix in vanilla extract, then add powdered sugar gradually, beating after each addition . Once all sugar is added, beat the mixture until smooth.
  3. Level the cakes with a wire or bread knife. Center the bottom cake on a plate. Add a thin layer of frosting to the top, then place the top layer. Crumb coat, then frost the layer cake. Tint remaining icing to create carrots and tops.

3 thoughts on “Idiot-Proof Carrot Cake

  1. Pingback: Thanksgiving Dishes | The Reluctant Hippie

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