Sunday, April 24, 2011

Carrot Cake


Did you all have a nice Easter? Ours was fabulous! It was a beautiful day spent with family. Doesn't get much better than that! My sister hosted a lovely brunch, and I volunteered to bring dessert (real shocker, I know). I have wanted to make a carrot cake for some time now, so I knew exactly what I was going to bring when I marked myself down for something sweet. There are certain days of the year when a carrot cake just makes sense, and to me, Easter is one of those days.
I haven't always been a huge fan of carrot cake. Some cakes tend to have a lot going on with the added ingredients, and I think that can take away from the delicate spice of the cake. I decided to tweak the original recipe a bit and keep this one fairly simple by only adding in chopped pecans and raisins. Excellent choice! I used a maple cream cheese frosting and it paired beautifully with the cake.
This is one recipe that definitely lands a slot in my recipe box. Such a treat! I would highly recommend this for Mother's Day, a backyard barbecue, or a bridal shower. Whatever the occasion, this cake is a winner!

Ingredients
Yields 12-14 servings
For the cake:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups packed light brown sugar 
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
4 large eggs
2 tbsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups canola oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 3/4 cups peeled, shredded carrots
1 cup raisins (soaked in warm water for one hour)
2 cups chopped pecans, separated

For the frosting:
2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners' sugar

Directions
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line three 8-inch pans with parchment paper, and grease bottom and sides of pans with baking spray; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, both sugars, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk together to blend, breaking up any large lumps of brown sugar with your hand. In another large mixing bowl, combine eggs, vanilla, oil, and buttermilk. Whisk until well combined. Add the wet ingredients to the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir just until incorporated. Add in carrots, 1 cup of pecans, and raisins. Fold gently into batter with a spatula until incorporated.

Divide batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until cakes are golden brown and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. I recommend rotating cakes halfway through baking. Transfer to wire racks and cool 5-10 minutes in the pans, then turn out cakes directly onto wire racks and cool completely.

For the frosting, beat cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer until smooth. Add maple syrup and vanilla, beat until combined. Gradually add confectioners' sugar and continue beating until well combined and smooth.

To assemble the cake, level layers (if necessary) using a serrated knife. Place one layer on a cake stand or cardboard cake round. Spread a layer of cream cheese frosting over the top. Place another cake layer on top and repeat frosting. Place the final cake layer on top. Frost the top and sides of cake with remaining frosting, reserving up to 1 cup for detailing if needed. Press remaining cup of pecans along the sides of cake.

Enjoy!

Source: cake adapted from Annie's Eats, frosting from Martha Stewart

26 comments:

The Addicted Baker on April 24, 2011 at 10:44 PM said...

Don't you love carrot cakes for Easter? I love them too. Made it for Easter too :)

Spiceblogger on April 25, 2011 at 8:47 AM said...

BEAUTIFUL.

Kate on April 25, 2011 at 8:48 AM said...

Yum! I love carrot cake and this looks delicious! Love the photos too :-)

Angie on April 25, 2011 at 9:26 AM said...

MMMMM...I love carrot cake, and I agree that adding too many ingredients will take away from the spice. Gorgeous!!

Priscilla on April 25, 2011 at 11:08 AM said...

The way you decorated it looks beautiful!

Georgia | The Comfort of Cooking on April 25, 2011 at 11:42 AM said...

Boy, does that look mouthwatering! It may be breakfast time, but I want carrot cake! What a yummy looking recipe and GORGEOUS photos. Thanks for sharing, Lindsey! Your baked goods never fail to amaze me. :)

Cara @ The Boys Made Me Do It on April 25, 2011 at 12:59 PM said...

Beautiful cake! Carrot is my all time favorite!

Amy (Sing For Your Supper) on April 25, 2011 at 1:14 PM said...

What a gorgeous cake!!!

Katrina {In Katrina's Kitchen} on April 25, 2011 at 9:28 PM said...

I never need to be told twice to have a slice of carrot cake. But yours goes a step further with those gorgeous outdoor photos! Stunning!

baking.serendipity on April 26, 2011 at 12:18 AM said...

Your carrot cake looks wonderful! It is a perfect spring dessert :)

briarrose on April 26, 2011 at 1:42 PM said...

Beautiful cake. A slice of this would make me such a happy camper. :)

Angela@RecipesFromMyMom on April 26, 2011 at 10:31 PM said...

Great idea to do the maple cream cheese frosting and love the simplified cake recipe.

Kelly on April 27, 2011 at 9:34 AM said...

WOW Lindsey this is beautiful!! Gorgeous pictures and looks absolutely delicious! I bet you had a wonderful Easter! :)

Dee on April 27, 2011 at 10:24 AM said...

I saw this on your blog yesterday and thought it was so beautiful! Then, I saw today that it was on the top 9 on Foodbuzz. I was not surprised, it's such a pretty cake. Congrats!!

Carrots and cherries on April 27, 2011 at 1:15 PM said...

The cake looks incredibly beautiful !

I just love carrot in my dessert :)

alyce on April 27, 2011 at 1:40 PM said...

Beautiful!

Our Eyes Eat First on April 27, 2011 at 1:52 PM said...

congrats on top 9! well deserved!

www.you-made-that.com on April 27, 2011 at 2:04 PM said...

beautiful cake and photos,congrats on the top 9. I have a very similiar recipe that I made for Easter and its delicious as I'm sure yours was as well.

spiceblogger on April 27, 2011 at 2:28 PM said...

This cake and the presentation is soooo beautiful.
Just stopping by to let you know I'm passing on a couple blog awards to you! Just go to my site to claim them and then pass them on to other worthy bloggers!
Keep up the good work--Shelley
http://www.inthelandofspice.com/spiceblog/spiceblog/Entries/2011/4/27_Blog_Award_%26_Banana_Oatmeal_Bread.html

Kimberly on April 27, 2011 at 4:22 PM said...

And is so beautiful! I'm with you, I didn't used to be a huge fan of Carrot cake, but it's my hubby favorite so I learned to love it. I even surprised him with one at our wedding! ;-)

Sarah on April 27, 2011 at 7:07 PM said...

The cake is beautiful! So is the cake stand... do you know where it was purchased from? Thanks and congratulations!

Amy on April 27, 2011 at 10:28 PM said...

Absolutely gorgeous carrot cake! Love the nut details on the sides! I would love a big slice of this :)! Congrats on the Top 9!

BigFatBaker on April 28, 2011 at 3:17 AM said...

Wow, so beautiful! Congrats on making it into the top 9. You totally deserved it!

Chelsea @ Sprinkles of Parsley on April 28, 2011 at 8:44 AM said...

Wow, looks gorgeous!! Love how nicely you decorated it!

Lindsey on April 28, 2011 at 5:04 PM said...

Thank you all for your wonderful comments! :)

Sarah, I bought the cake stand a few months ago from Home Goods. Love that store!!

Lizzy on April 30, 2011 at 11:45 AM said...

You iced this one perfectly! Looks like a bakery cake, however, I know it's much, much better~

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