Friday, April 9, 2010

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

You know how sometimes carrot cake isn't very good?  Face it, you went after it for the cream cheese frosting, and now you're wondering why it isn't culturally acceptable to just eat that stuff with a spoon.  The problem lies in the cake underneath: it is either too dry, crumbly, or just plain lacks that carroty flavor.

I have found the foil to your problem. This is the moistest carrot cake I have ever tasted, and I have tried quite a few.   A sample of what I'm sure are unbiased reviews from my tasters: "the best cake you have ever made," "awesome," "did you make any more?"

The occasion was a dinner party, and I didn't know the menu.  I knew I wanted to bring something slightly different than normal. Not a chocolate or vanilla cake, and not a pie (though my pie crust is something to behold. Come stone fruit season I promise the best cherry pie recipe ever).  It would have to transport easily and be something I could make ahead, since I had to work both days leading up to the event.  This cake was perfect. I made the cake the morning before the day of the dinner, made the frosting the evening before, and frosted it the morning of.  After the jump, see a picture that made C Fierce attempt to eat her computer screen.

Did I mention it was delicious?

For Delicious Carrot Cake, adapted from Williams-Sonoma: Baking
unsalted butter for greasing
2 cups (10 oz all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting)
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
3/4 cup canola oils
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk (or sour milk: place 1/2 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice in glass, fill to 1/2 cup line with milk and let sit 5 minutes)
3 cups lightly packed peeled shredded carrots

Set the oven to 350F. Grease two 9" round, 2" deep cake pans. Dust with flour, tap out excess flour.

In a bowl, sift together the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices, and salt). In another bowl, whisk together eggs, oil, both sugars, and buttermilk until blended.

Stir the blended ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined. Fold in the carrots and pour the batter evenly into the two pans.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, approximately 40 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and let cool 15 minutes, then invert the cakes onto the racks and let them cool completely.

Place one cake on a plate, spreading a little less than half on the top. Place second cake on top and frost with remaining frosting.

For Cream Cheese Frosting
1 pound (16 oz) cream cheese at room temperature
6 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/4 cups confectioner's sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Combine cream cheese and butter in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer beat on medium-high speed until smooth. With the speed reduced to low, add the sugar and beat until smooth. Add vanilla. Makes about 2 1/4 cups. Keeps for one week covered in the fridge.

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