Saturday, April 25, 2015

Carrot Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

Another perfect time to bake a cake: Easter!  Well, in my opinion, any holiday that revolves around a meal is fair game for cake baking.  The fact that we planned to spend easter alone, just the two of us, should not have to factor in at all!  
Carrot cake is probably my favorite type of cake, but I have always been a little wary to try baking one myself.  Something about the main ingredient being a vegetable made me feel like it could go terribly wrong.  But, this recipe sounded really simple and I have been on a roll with cakes lately so, I thought I would give it a try.  One benefit of baking for just you and your husband: no one will know if you flop :)
I first saw this cake recipe on a blog via Pinterest.  I changed a few things around, but not many, and only for convenience sake.  


3 cups carrots, finely shredded
1 cup applesauce (I used cinnamon applesauce)
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
4 eggs
4 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves

16 oz cream cheese, softened
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
6 cups powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 350°F. 

Grease and 2 four 8-inch round cake pans. Set aside.
Finely shred and chop carrots. ( I used baby carrots because I didn't have to peel them, and I had them on hand.  I also ran my carrots through the grating blade on my food processor and then re chopped them all briefly with the regular blade.  It gave them a good consistency I think)

In a large bowl, combine liquid ingredients.
Add in the sugars, whisking until combined. 
Stir in carrots. 
Add dry ingredients in several batches until well combined and no streaks remain. Divide batter between prepared cake pans.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5-10 minutes or until easy to handle. Transfer cakes to a wire rack and allow them cool completely.
Wrap cakes well in plastic and chill for several hours or overnight. 

In a large bowl beat cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Mix in vanilla and cinnamon until well incorporated.  
Add 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time until fully incorporated. 

Ice the top surface of the bottom cake and then carefully place second layer on top.  I run a layer of icing around any gab that is between the two layers so it is more even and easier to ice the sides later.  
Then, Ice the entire cake, beginning with a large portion on the top and working your way out from the middle and down the sides.  I did a messy, whipped texture, because the frosting was so thick and sturdy.  Some frosting wont hold its shape well enough, but this frosting was wonderful to work with! 
Chill cake until ready to serve. 

If you follow the link to the blog, you will notice that the original recipe made a 4 layer, square cake, and called for 4 cake pans, containing much thinner cakes of course.  I strayed from this for 2 reasons.  The main one, I do not own 4 cake pans, round or square, and I did not want to have to bake 2 batches, cooling and cleaning the pans in between.  Second, 4 layer cakes contain a lot of layers of frosting.  And usually I just find them too rich; regardless of how delicious the frosting may be.  I still could have cut these two thicker layers in half and it would have yielded a 4 layer cake, although this was definitely less of a hassle, and probably cut down on the richness.  

As I said earlier, this frosting was really wonderful to work with.  Im going to definitely use it for other recipes in the future! However, the inside layers on the slices would have probably been more defined and prettier if I had done what you are supposed to do: Spread the frosting between the cakes, as well as a thin later on the whole cake, and chill it again before frosting the final coat. But I had waited long enough for the cakes to chill so they would be easy to frost, I didn't have the time or patience to chill them even longer.  Regardless, it turnout out well enough for a first carrot cake go-around.  
We ended up having another couple over for Easter lunch; Our friends Patrick and Diana, who, like us, don't have family in town or close by.  I also took the cake to our bible study group on Tuesday, so it was all eaten, and not just by me and Simon.  

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