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by Sarah Steimer

Carrot cake granola

Every so often, I like something a little sweet for breakfast — like carrot cake. But we can’t bite into a big hunk of sugar every morning, so I transformed that cake favorite into a (much healthier) granola version.

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by Caitlin Saniga

This cake takes commitment, but if you follow the directions closely, it’ll be the best damn cake you’ve ever made. This particular carrot cake was made for my neighbor Katie to celebrate her daughter’s first day on earth. Katie had gestational diabetes during her pregnancy, so she had to ignore her many cravings for sweets (which was torture!). So of course she wanted cake on her baby’s birthday!

Cake:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3 sticks (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 pound carrots (8 to 10 medium carrots), peeled and shredded on a box grater or in a food processor (about 2 3/4 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange peel (from 1 orange)
  • 1 cup pecans, finely chopped
  • 1 cup toasted almonds, coarsely chopped

Icing:

  • 16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
  • 2 pounds confectioners’ sugar, sifted (I used all but about 1 cup from a 2-pound bag. It was plenty sweet!)
To make the cake:
Today would have been my dad's 59th birthday. Carrot cake was his favorite. I wish I could have made this for him.

Today would have been my dad’s 59th birthday. He was the greatest. Carrot cake was his favorite. I wish I could have made this for him.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter three 9-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper, and butter parchment. Dust with flour, tapping out any excess. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, ginger and allspice.

Beat the butter and sugars with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat for 3 minutes. Add the vanilla, water, orange peel and carrots. Beat until well combined, about 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low, and add the flour mixture, then the finely chopped pecans.

Scrape the batter into prepared pans, dividing evenly. Bake, rotating the pans on the oven racks halfway through, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cool in pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of cakes to loosen, and turn out cakes onto rack. Turn them right side up, and let them cool completely.

To make the cream cheese icing:

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and vanilla until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. With the mixer on medium speed, gradually add the butter, beating until incorporated.

Reduce the mixer speed to low. Gradually add the sugar, beating until incorporated.

To assemble the cake:

If your cakes are rounded on top, use a serrated knife to trim the tops of 2 cakes so they are flat. Place one trimmed cake, cut side up, on a serving platter. Spread 1 cup of icing over cake. Top with second trimmed cake, cut side down. Spread 1 cup icing over cake. Top with remaining cake. Spread the remaining icing over the top and sides. Gently press the almonds onto the sides of cake. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.

Makes 10 servings.

Recipe adapted from: MarthaStewart.com

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by Sarah Steimer

The blog where I got the recipe cut out a lot of the sugar, which I appreciated. There’s really no reason to go overboard on sugar with either carrots or cream cheese — both are so naturally sweet.

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cups canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups grated carrots (about 2-3 large carrots)
  • 1/3 c chopped walnuts

Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and ginger in medium bowl.

In a large bowl, combine the sugar and oil. Whisk in eggs one at a time. Add flour mixture and stir until combined. Stir in carrots and walnuts.

Divide batter among cupcake molds fitted with liners, filling 3/4 of each. Bake cupcakes at 350 degrees for 14 to 18 minutes, or until a toothpick or knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool before icing.

For the frosting:

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (I did use pure maple syrup, not sure if this made any difference)

Using a hand or stand mixer, beat all the ingredients on medium until fluffy. Chill the frosting for a few minutes minutes, until it has set up enough to spread smoothly. After icing the cupcakes, sprinkle with cinnamon.

Makes 12 cupcakes.

Recipe adapted from: Mehan’s Kitchen

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