Sunday, March 14, 2010

Delicious Carrot Cake

For my husbands birthday, I decided to try a new recipe - carrot cake. Carrot cake is absolutely delicious. To a carrot cake lover, that is. Carrot cake is a sweet cake with grated carrot mixed into the batter. Absolutely delicious. My husband and I have had many carrot cakes throughout the years, but somehow, during our 5 years of marriage, I had yet to bake one on my own. As his 28th birthday celebration was approaching, he asked if I would bake him a carrot cake for his special treat.

I, being the Sous Chef, obliged and said yes.

A birthday cake for my husband and a new experient for myself. Sounded like a great plan! However, being in a new house and having recently used most of my staple baking supplies, my first step was to go to the grocery store and purchase all the staple ingedients to restock my pantry cupboard. It's amazing how expensive baking ingredients can be when you have to start from scratch to refill, but, with my Safeway card I was able to snag some great deals and save about 70 dollars from my grocery bill of $50. (I'll have to get more into the details of my bargain grocery shopping later. I even attended a Moms Club session on grocery savings and coupon clipping).

And so the mess began ...

One of the most crucial steps (according to the recipe giver, Ranae) is to let the grated carrots and brown sugar soak in together for 60 minutes. And, for those health concious people out there - this recipe called for 6 cups of grated carrots and 1 cup crushed pineapple - so if you think you aren't getting any healthy benefits from this cake, think again!

I eventually had to add the raisins to the carrot mixture and then mix the remaining ingredients in a separate bowl.

Mixing the frosting together. I used my Kitchen Aid mixture for this one. Mixing the frosting in the kitchenaid mixture definitely makes for a super smooth, easy to spread frosting mixture.

This is my secret recipe tip. If you are frosting a large cake and need to frost all sides. Instead of trying to frost and layer the cake all at once, try this. Put a think layer of frosting on the cake, not worrying about flaking crumbs or pieces of cake in the thin frosting layer. Next, refridgerate cake for 15-20 minutes to make the frosting harden. Take the cake out of fridge and refrost using a heavier layer. Trust me, this works! You will end up with a better looking cake without crumbs in the frosting.

After frosting entire cake, dust off cake decorating tools and get a little creative with the birthday cake. If you do not have a decorators frosting bag, just put frosting into a ziploc bag and cut off the corner. A simple trick that works almost the same.

I even colored the frosting to go with our orange "carrot" theme by adding a few drops of red and yellow food coloring.

The results? Drum roll, please.

An absolutely delicious, moist, incredibly flavorful Carrot Cake.

Yum-O! Thanks, Ranae for this scrumptious recipe (please see below)!

Carrot Cake Recipe

6 cups grated carrots
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup raisins
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 tsps vanilla
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
3 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts

In a medium bowl, combine grated carrots and brown sugar. Set aside for 60 minutes, then stir in raisins.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 10 inch cake pans.

In a large bowl, beat eggs until light. Gradually beat in the white sugar, oil and vanilla. Stir in the pineapple. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and stir into the wet mixture until absorbed. Finally, stir in the carrot mixture and walnuts. Pour evenly into the prepared pans.

Bake for 45-50 minutes in preheated oven, until cake tests done with toothpick. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans. When completely cooled, frost with cream cheese frosting.

Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened (no substitutions)
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 package (16 ounces) confectioners sugar

In large bowl, with mixer at medium high speed, beat butter, cream cheese and vanilla 2 minutes or until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low. Beat in confectioners sugar until blended. Increase speed to medium-high; beat 2 minutes or until light and creamy. I usually use more than 16 ounces. Make sure you do a few taste tests to see if the frosting is of the consistency you want.

Makes 3 1/2 cups.

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