Sunday, February 26, 2012

Carrot Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

I can't believe it's been another week already. What the fudge? It feels like the days just crawl by and then BOOM, time for another cake.

I wasn't super excited to make this cake and I'm not sure why. Maybe because it seemed too traditional. Or because I just made a cake with cream cheese icing.

I also had a hard time finding a recipe I wanted to use. Fresh ginger? Too potent. Cooked carrot puree? Too much work. Crushed pineapple? I'm sorry, I know people are into this but I just can't get behind it.

I will say that carrot cake is very customizable according to your own personal preference. Think of it like a cup of fro-yo at one of those trendy self-serve places that are always overrun with kids hopped up on sugar popping up almost as fast as Starbucks.

Like your cakes nutty? Add walnuts. Want something fruitier? Add raisins. Need some more texture? Try coconut. And of course, there's always the option to mix and match.

Although I'm not a huge fan of nuts in my desserts, I felt like the cake just needed a little something extra so I went ahead and added walnuts. But honestly, no matter what you add or leave out, this cake can absolutely stand on its own. It's ridiculously moist, perfectly sweet, with just the right amount of warm spice.

Carrot Cake 
Yield: One 2-layer 8'' cake

2 cups sugar
1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 extra-large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 lb grated carrots
1 cup chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour (or grease with cooking spray) two 8'' cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Set aside.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sugar, vegetable oil, and vanilla with the paddle attachment. Increase the speed to medium and add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl as necessary.
3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, spices, baking soda, and salt. Add half of the dry ingredients to the sugar mixture and mix on low until just incorporated.
4. Add the carrots and walnuts to the bowl and mix on low until just combined. Do the same with the remaining dry ingredients.
5. Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer pans to a wire rack and allow cakes to cool completely before unmolding.

Recipe Notes:
  • This cake can be a little delicate to work with so if you decide to split the layers like I did, be careful when handling them so they don't fall apart.
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten 

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 lb unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 lb cream cheese
5 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

1. Place the butter and half the sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. paddle on medium speed until smooth and creamy.
2. Add the cream cheese and remaining sugar. Continue to cream until all ingredients are smooth and incorporated. Add the cinnamon and mix to combine. Frost cake immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Recipe Notes:
  • You can obviously leave out the cinnamon for just a plain cream cheese frosting. Or, get really crazy and try some different flavors. Maple, caramel, or crystallized ginger all sound good to me.
  • You want the icing to be soft and smooth, but be careful not to overbeat it or it will get very soft and hard to spread.
  • If using chilled icing from the fridge, return it to the mixer on low speed to soften it to spreading consistency.


  1. This cake looks just wonderful especially those cream cheese far this could be my favorite. But I hold out commiting until I see next week's offering.


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