• Eliana

Carrot Cake | Balance is Key

Carrot cake, oh carrot cake, how I love thee, oh carrot cake. I can have carrot cake any time of the day or night and it's still so darn delicious. Sometimes, I skip the frosting, bake the cake or make muffins out of the batter, and snack on it all day, every day. Tricking myself into thinking this cake is good for me because of the three cups of carrots makes me laugh, but hey, this cake could have no vegetables in it for all that matters and then it really wouldn't even be considered healthy!

Balance baby. It's all about the balance. Sneaking healthy veggies into a delicious moist cake is what I like to refer to as balance. In life you can't have too much of one thing without having a little bit of the other. You need that ying to the yang type of equation. Therefore, often times when baking, I'll sneak in healthy veggies or heart-healthy nuts (just don't tell Coco)! If you really want something have it. Allow yourself to have a little bit of it, even if that means finally giving into the popsicle that has been calling your name from the fridge all week, get to licking! You'll make up for it somehow. So, for me, I throw carrots into a cake and tell myself it's a healthier option than a cake without carrots. I find the balance that works for me and its ok if it doesn't work for everyone.

I decided to make this version of my carrot cake a "naked" one and didn't frost the entire cake completely. I figured if you look that good you may as well shake what your mama gave yah and wear your birthday suit. That's just what this carrot cake did, naked and not afraid.

Here's what you are going to need in order to bake up this baby full of carrots, nuts, and a whole lot of yes!!! Preheat oven to 350'F. Grease and lightly flour two 9-inch round cake pans. As you can see here in the top left, I have buttered my pans and then sprinkled flour all over and up the sides too, in order to prevent the cake from sticking!

You can shred your carrots in a food processor or pull out a cheese grater and get grating on there. Whatever is easiest and best for you! Today I decided to use my food processor, but other days I've used a grater, it doesn't matter! To get 3 cups of shredded carrots, I buy anywhere between 4 to 5 whole carrots, depending on how big they are!

Now, in a medium bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside. I prefer to use cake flour when baking cakes because it contains less protein than regular cakes have. The less protein flour has, the less gluten it contains. You want a little bit of gluten to help keep the cake together, but too much of it can cause the cake to become tough and chewy. By using cake flour, your cake will turn out more airy and fluffy, yielding a better result. Cool, eh?

In a separate large bowl with an electric hand-mixer or a bowl of an electric mixture, beat oil and sugars on medium-hight, until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until incorporated; beat in the vanilla.

Add the flour mixture, mix until just combined.

Stir in the shredded carrots, pecans, walnuts, and raisins, using a spatula until completely combined.

Now it's time to pour our batter into the prepared cake pans.

Bake in the preheated oven at 350'F, for about 40 to 50 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow cakes to completely cool in pans on top of the wire racks.

While your cakes are cooling, you can begin to make the cream cheese frosting. In the bowl of an electric mixer with paddle attachment , combine cream cheese, butter, sour cream, lemon juice, and lemon zest ; beat until just blended. Add the vanilla and beat until combined. Reduce the speed to low, slowly add the powdered sugar and beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy.

Once the cakes cool off, you can frost them! Carefully remove the cakes from the pans and place one cake, flat side up (the bottom), on a cake stand or flat plate. Using a spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up (the top of the cake) , and spread with the remaining frosting.

Just warning you, you are going to want to lick the frosting bowl clean! You can't say I didn't warn you.

Sidenote: If baking a "naked" cake, you don't frost up the sides of the cake, you leave it "naked" . If you wish to frost the entire cake- use about 1/2 cup for the first layer of frosting, about 1/2 cup for the top layer, and roughly 1 cup to frost up the sides of the cake.

Add the remaining tablespoons of pecans and walnuts on top to decorate and then it's all your's for the taking. Get after it!

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time:

Total Time:

Yield: 2 (9-inch) Cakes

Ingredients:

Carrot Cake

3 1/4 cup cake flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 cups oil

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

6 eggs

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

3 cups carrots (4 to 5 big carrots), shredded

1/2 cup pecans, plus 1 tablespoon to decorate top of cake

1/2 cup walnuts, plus 1 tablespoon to decorate top of cake

1/2 cup raisins

Cream Cheese Frosting

(yield: about 2 cups)

Two 8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature

4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

1 tablespoon sour cream

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups powdered sugar

Directions:

Carrot Cake-

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and lightly flour two 9-inch round cake pans.

In a medium bowl, whisk together cake flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the oil and sugars on medium-high, until combined. Reduce speed to low, add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until incorporated; beat in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture, mix until just combined. Stir in the shredded carrots, pecans, walnuts, and raisins, until completely combined. Pour into prepared cake pans.

Bake in the preheated oven at 350'F for about 40 to 50 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow cakes to completely cool in the pans on top of a wire rack. Carefully remove cake from pans and place one cake, flat side up, on a cake stand or flat plate. Using a spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread with the remaining frosting.

[If baking a "naked" cake, you don't frost up the side of the cake, you leave it "naked". If you wish to frost the entire cake- use about 1/2 cup for the first layer of frosting, about 1/2 cup for the top layer, and roughly 1 cup to frost up the sides of the cake.]

Cream Cheese Frosting-

In the bowl of an electric mixer with paddle attachment , combine cream cheese, butter, sour cream, lemon juice, and lemon zest ; beat until just blended. Add the vanilla and beat until combined. Reduce the speed to low, slowly add the powdered sugar and beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy.

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