If given a choice between cake and pie, I generally chose pie. Given a choice between cake or a cookie, I usually chose the cookie. The thing is, cake is not my favorite dessert. I find it’s usually too dry or has frosting made of shortening (shortening has just as many calories as butter or cream cheese, and butter/cream cheese tastes a million times better, people! Demand the real thing!)
But you put a carrot cake in front of me? Well, just watch your hands and fingers!
I freaking love carrot cake. Even a bad carrot cake is still good. And this recipe is the best carrot cake I have ever eaten! As a carrot cake connoisseur, I consider myself a pretty good judge of carrot cake. So trust.
I have given this a lot of thought: why I like carrot cake a TON but am not so fond of regular cake.
First, carrot cake is always moist. The carrots keep things from drying out. Too many cakes are too dry. This recipe also has crushed pineapple AND golden raisins, which keep this cake dense and (dare I say it?) juicy. Seriously, it’s beyond moist.
Second, carrot cake comes with cream cheese frosting. Cream cheese frosting makes my heart flutter. And it makes cake phenomenal. My cream cheese frosting involves both cream cheese and real butter. Many people have never actually had real butter cream or real cream cheese frosting because many store bought cakes make their frosting with a shortening base. Yuck. It’s that waxy bright-white crap. Not good. And canned frosting also is not real butter. Frosting is REALLY easy to make, and when homemade it’s ALWAYS more delicious than store bought. So please, take the time to make your own frosting. You won’t be sorry. OK. End of my fake-frosting rant.
3. It’s generally not sickly sweet. Much of the sweetness comes from the carrots, raisins and pineapple.
4. It’s got veggies in it, so it’s good for you, right? (Just let me have this one, ok?)
This is the same recipe that we used for my brother’s wedding cake. It was awesome then, and it’s awesome now.
Make this cake. It’s not difficult, and it’s sublime.
Drool-Worthy Carrot Cake Recipe
Adapted from Out of Our Kitchen Closets: San Francisco Gay Jewish Cooking
You will need:
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups of carrots, peeled and grated
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup crushed pineapple
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans (I prefer pecans)
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Grease and flour two 9 or 10 inch cake pans. (The cake in the picture is actually a 3 layer cake. I made 1 and a half recipes to make three layers).
2. Sift together flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon.
3. To the flour mixture add the eggs, oil, vanilla and sugar. Beat until well blended.
4. Fold in the carrots, raisins, pecans and pineapple.
5. Pour into pans and bake for 25-35 minutes. Begin testing at 25 minutes because ovens are different (my oven is crazy and I can never tell how long something will need to actually bake for, so I check it a lot). Bake until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Let the cake cool completely before frosting.
You will need:
8oz softened cream cheese (room temp)
8 oz softened butter (two sticks at room temp)
1 teaspoon vanilla
About 3 cups of powdered sugar
1 to 3 tablespoons of milk
In large bowl, beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla until well-blended and whipped. Then add two cups of powdered sugar. Add a tablespoon of milk and blend. Keeping adding milk and sugar only as necessary until the frosting is the desired level of sweetness and the desired level of spreadability. I never have an exact science for this. It’s more of a feeling that you develop over time, but it’s fairly easy to do. If you end up with something too runny, add more sugar. If it’s too thick, add a little more milk.
Frost that cake. Cut yourself a huge slice. Enjoy!
I am taking this cake to these parties: