This rich, moist spice cake, filled with grated carrots, toasted nuts, and chopped pineapple, tastes great, especially when topped with a sweet and tangy cream cheese frosting. The interesting part is that while those cute orange flecks of grated carrot give the carrot cake its color, sweetness, and moist texture, its flavor is nearly indistinguishable. I think the biggest debate surrounding carrot cake is whether crushed pineapple or applesauce should be added to the batter. Adding one of these ingredients gives the sweet flavor and moisture.
Carrot Cake Recipe:
- 1 cup (100 grams) of pecans or walnuts
- 3/4 pound (340 gram) raw peeled carrots (about 2 1/2 cups grated)
- 2 cups (260 grams) of all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon (4 grams) of baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons (6 grams) of baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) of salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons (2 grams) of ground cinnamon
- 4 large eggs (200 grams), at room temperature
- 300 grams of white granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons (8 grams) of pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup (240 ml / 215 grams) of vegetable, corn, safflower or canola oil
- 1-8-ounce (226-gram) can of crushed, drained pineapple (optional)
Cream Cheese Glaze:
- 7 tablespoons (100 grams) of unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups (180 grams) of powdered sugar (powdered or powdered), sifted
- 1 teaspoon (4 grams) of pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon (4 grams) of freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 12 ounces (340 grams) of whole cream cheese, softened
How to make Carrot Cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Grease or spray two 23 x 5 cm (9 x 2 inch) cake pans with non-stick vegetable spray and line the bottom of the pans with a circle of parchment paper.
- Place the pecans or walnuts on a baking sheet and cook for about 6 – 8 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant. Let it cool and then chop coarsely.
- Peel and grate the carrots.
- In a separate bowl, whisk or sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and ground cinnamon.
- In the bowl of your electric planetary mixer, equipped with a leaf attachment (or with a hand whisk), beat the eggs until frothy (about 1 minute). Add the sugar and vanilla extract and whisk, on high speed, until the batter is thick and light in color (about 3 – 4 minutes). With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the oil in a steady stream and then whisk until combined. Beat the crushed pineapple. Add the flour mixture and whisk until incorporated. With a rubber spatula, mix in the grated carrots and chopped walnuts. Divide the dough evenly between the two prepared pans (about 775 grams of dough in each pan) and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean (the cakes will start to come off the sides of the pan) .
- Remove from the oven and let the cakes cool on a wire rack. After 10 minutes, flip the cakes onto a wire rack, remove the trays and parchment paper, flip again and then cool completely before frosting.
Cream cheese glaze: in the bowl of the electric planetary mixer, equipped with a leaf attachment (or with a hand whisk), beat the butter until smooth. Add the icing sugar and vanilla extract and beat til light and fluffy (2-3 min.). Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the lemon juice and beat until incorporated. Add the soft cream cheese in four or five additions (scraping the bowl if necessary), whisking until incorporated and the glaze is nice and smooth.
To assemble: Place one layer of the cake on a cardboard cutting board or serving dish. Spread with about 3/4 cup (150 grams) of icing. Gently place the second cake layer on the icing and spread the rest of the icing over the top and sides of the cake. If desired, garnish with toasted nuts. The cake can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for about five days. Serve cold or bring to room temperature before serving. Well packaged, the cake can also be frozen for about a month. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight.