Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

From epicurious

For the carrot cake:
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 cups packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup safflower or canola oil
1 pound carrots, trimmed, peeled, and coarsely grated on the largest holes of a box grater or the fine grating blade of food processor (about 3 lightly packed cups total)

Optional additions:
2/3 cup walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped, plus more lightly toasted nuts for garnish
2/3 cup dark or golden raisins

For the cream cheese frosting:
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, chilled
11 tablespoons butter, softened at room temperature
1 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Equipment: 1 (9- by 13-inch) baking pan or 2 regular cupcake pans w/ parchment paper liners; stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment

Make the cake:
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375°F. Prepare your pans (butter the bottom and sides of your cake pan and line the bottoms with parchment paper or use parchment paper liners for the cupcakes).

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the brown sugar on the lowest speed to break up any lumps. Add 1 egg and continue to mix on low until smooth and incorporated. Add the remaining eggs, one at a time, and mix on low until smooth and incorporated. Shut off the mixer and scrape down the bowl and paddle. Return the mixer to low then add the oil in a thin steady stream and continue to beat until fully incorporated.

Add the flour mixture in 3 batches, using a large rubber spatula to fold the mixture together until just incorporated. Fold in the carrots, along with the nuts and raisins, if using.

Divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake until the layers are firm and risen and the tip of a paring knife inserted in the center of the cake emerges clean, about 40 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to let cool completely.

Once the cake is completely cool, make the frosting:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese and butter and beat on medium until smooth, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Shut off the mixer and scrape down the bowl and paddle. Add the confectioners' sugar and vanilla, and beat on medium, scraping down the bowl and paddle as necessary, until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

I had never made a cake from scratch but my nesting instincts were in full gear during hubby's birthday week this year so I made this cake. It was kind of labor-intensive for this boxed cake lover, but it was SO worth it. EVERYONE, including hubby (and including myself who doesn't usually care for carrot cake), RAVED about this cake. It was moist and just really delicious. It will be a go-to for any of hubby's special occasions in the future!

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