I’m always careful with what I eat, because I have a tendency to put on weight very easily (damn you genetics!), so on those rare occasions when I go out for lunch, coffee or dinner, I indulge myself and order the most decadent desserts in the house, cheesecake, brownie, chocolate cake…and always ignore anything with the slight appearance of healthy food, no fruit salads for me nor carrot cakes…until now.
The other day I decided to bake a carrot cake, but only because it is one of those cakes anyone who aspires to know and enjoy American cuisine should know how to make.
And big, (no, not big, huge) was my surprise when I try a tiny slice of that cake… amazing! Really, now I know why even Starbucks has its own version. So now I am converted and belong to the carrot cake’s flock. In my next night out I’m definitely going to order carrot cake if they have it the menu and will not stop until I find one that is at least as good as this one 😉
- 1 cup (100 grams) walnuts (pecans are so expensive here and hard to find, but I bet it will be even better with them)
- 340 grams raw carrots (about 2 ½ cups finely grated)
- 2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- A pinch of nutmeg
- 4 large eggs
- 1 ½ cups (300 grams) granulated white sugar
- 1 cup (240 ml) oil (any flavorless oil will do, like safflower, vegetable or canola)
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Buttercream
- 1 cup (228 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 8 oz. (227 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 cups (460 grams) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar
Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC) and place rack in center of oven. Butter or spray a 9 x 13 x 2 inch (23 x 33 x 5 cm) pan and line the bottom of the pan with a circle of parchment paper.
Toast the walnuts for about 8 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant. Let cool and then chop coarsely.
Peel and finely grate the carrots.
In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and ground cinnamon.
In bowl of electric, beat the eggs until frothy (about 1 minute). Gradually add the sugar and beat until the batter is thick and light colored (about 3 – 4 minutes). Add the oil in a steady stream and then beat in the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat just until incorporated. With a large rubber spatula fold in the grated carrots and chopped nuts. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake 30 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. After about 5 -10 minutes invert the cake onto the wire rack, remove the pan and parchment paper, and then cool completely before frosting.
Cream Cheese Buttercream
In the bowl of a mixer with the whisk attachment, beat butter on low speed for several minutes until fluffy, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally.
Add cream cheese and vanilla and mix on low speed for a minute.
Add powdered sugar one cup at a time and mix on low until combined after each addition. Once last cup is added, whip frosting on high for a minute or two to make it extra fluffy and light.
To decorate the cake, I applied a first coat of buttercream and let it set for a while, and then I added the second coat and tried my best to make it presentable. I made carrots and bunny with fondant, but you can use also marzipan. Both very easy to make. For the bunny tutorial you may visit The little wheelz blog.