Luckily, carrots are delicious, since, as I mentioned in the previous post, I have a lot of carrots. They’re delicious and really, really useful. Utilitarian, even. But for some unfathomable reason, I can’t remember that I’ve ever made a carrot cake. Not in this year of beautiful carrots nor any other day, month, or year. What the heck is wrong with me?
I’m happy to say that at least some problems are easy to fix. I did eventually make carrot cake. While I didn’t go for a fancy, double layer beauty, I happily stirred together a sheet cake, or perhaps I’d call it a snack cake, since it was in a 13 x 9-inch pan rather than a sheet pan. Armed with trusty resources, I wasn’t even worried that this wouldn’t be good, and I wasn’t disappointed.
There were two recipes for frosted, single layer carrot cake printed side by side in Pillsbury: The Complete Book of Baking, one with a coconut frosting that I knew my husband wouldn’t eat, and one that was lightened up to such a level that it even called for a cholesterol-free product instead of whole eggs. I sort of combined the two, picking the lower oil level of the lighter cake as well as it’s cream cheese frosting (well, a similar frosting, anyway), and leaving in the eggs and the nuts from the other version.
This is a delicious carrot cake, perhaps more traditional than innovative. There is probably room for some variation, though, if you want to change things up. I love this the way it is, moist and durable, loaded with quite a few healthy things despite it’s unflinching dessert quality. Cake is a great place to put carrots, but I also like all of the other accompaniments in this recipe, the pineapple bits giving a burst of fruit to every bite, sweet raisins, and nuts.
Of course, the cream cheese frosting makes it all even better. I’d eat that stuff on a stick.
Carrot Snack Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from Pillsbury: The Complete Book of Baking
For the cake:
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup canola oil (or other neutral tasting oil)
8 ounces crushed pineapple, undrained
2 cups shredded carrots
½ cup raisins
½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
For the frosting:
3 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with cooking spray or grease it as you like. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Whisk together to combine well. Set aside.
3. In a medium-size bowl, combine the sugar, oil and egg. Wisk together until very smooth and fluffy. Stir in the pineapple and vanilla.
4. Pour the sugar mixture into the flour mixture and mix well. Stir in the carrots, raisins, and walnuts or pecans.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake at 350 F for 35-40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out with just a few wet crumbs attached, no wet batter.
6. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack.
7. To make the frosting, combine the butter and cream cheese in a medium-size bowl. Beat together with an electric mixer until very smooth. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar and vanilla. Continue beating until very smooth. Spread over the cooled cake.
Makes about 16 servings.
Other recipes like this one: Applesauce Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting, Zucchini Multigrain Coffee Cake, Beet and Orange Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting