Friday, June 2, 2017

"The Best" Carrot Cake

"The Best" Carrot Cake - made April 22, 2017 from Mel's Kitchen Cafe
I’ve mentioned before that I rarely try out new recipes for carrot cake.  Partly because I already have a favorite recipe that suits me just fine and partly because I hate grating carrots. I do it the old-school way with a grater whose plastic outer rim is cracked. Yes, I could buy a new grater. Yes, I could possibly grate the carrots in my food processor. I do neither. Why? I don’t know. 
But I have my suspicions. Maybe because I don’t want it to be easy to make carrot cake because it’s actually rather bad for you. If you think the carrots redeem the cake, think again. The oil cackles and says “nope”. And the cream cheese frosting that accompanies any carrot cake worth its carrots also doesn’t help. Carrot cake is one of the unhealthiest cakes I can make, largely because of the oil. But that same oil is also what makes it so moist and so good. So trying to reconcile the cognitive dissonance in my head means I don’t make carrot cake that often.
So when I do, I want it to be good. Or at least as good as my favorite recipe from Jim Fobel. What caught my eye about this recipe is the original blogger has the same views about carrot cake as I do, namely that it should only contain carrots. Not nuts, not pineapple, not raisins (shudder), not mashed bananas, nuttin’ but carrots. Preach, sister. 
Not only do we have a meeting of the minds about the purist carrot cake but her recipe is amazing. As amazing as my favorite recipe, in fact. This was a really good cake. Fluffy, great taste, great texture. So if you’re going to eat this unhealthy, make it worth the calories and worth the manual grating of those carrots. I did my own riff on a traditional cream cheese frosting by adding some cinnamon to it to make it a cinnamon cream cheese frosting; that also paired really well with this cake. So now I have two favorite recipes for carrot cake.
2 1/2 cups (12.5 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound medium carrots (6 to 7 large carrots), ends trimmed and peeled
1 1/2 cups (10.5 ounces) granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups (10.5 ounces) packed brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil (canola or other neutral flavor oil)

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
5 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups (4.25 ounces) confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon, optional but recommended
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9 x 13" baking pan with foil and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt; set aside.
  3. In a food processor fitted with large or fine shredding disk (or using a box grater and shredding by hand), shred the carrots for about 3 cups total.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the granulated sugar, brown sugar, and eggs on medium high speed until thoroughly combined, about 45 seconds.
  5. Reduce the speed to medium and, with mixer running, add oil in a slow, steady stream.
  6. Increase the speed to high and mix until the batter is light in color, about 45 seconds to 1 minute longer.
  7. Stir in the carrots and dry ingredients by hand until just combined; do not overmix.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.
  9. Let the cake cool completely before frosting.
  10. Frosting: Mix cream cheese, butter, sour cream and vanilla at medium high speed until well combined, about 30-45 seconds, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. 
  11. Add the confectioners' sugar and mix until very fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. Frost cooled cake.

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