Monday, March 8, 2010

The best carrot cake ever! Well, at least I think so... :)

I consider myself a bit of a snob when it comes to food. I adore food with what I call the "yum factor"...who doesn't really? Of course food should look as good as it tastes but looks are only a fraction of what I need to be totally satisfied by yummy stuff. Lately I have noticed the come back of a cake that I have always considered very very low on the yum factor scale and I find this rather curious. So I ask folks who want me to make the bright scarlet cake called red velvet, what they actually like about it...since I just don't get the attraction. Those of you who have made this cake know it has huge amounts of red food color in it to give it that devilish hue and for flavor it has a very small amount of cocoa powder. So small in fact you can't even taste it! So what then??? is the attraction? When I enquire those who seem to love this strange and unusual concoction, the overwhelming answer is "The frosting!" For the most part it is always cream cheese icing! Ok this I understand! Who doesn't love cream cheese icing but I say, let's put it on a tasty cake instead of ingesting 3 ounces of red food coloring!
Enter... the carrot cake...
Ok some folks say to me they don't like carrot cake because it has the dreaded raisins in it or they are allergic to nuts... HEY there is a fine solution to all of these complaints and it gives the traditional carrot cake a whole new look and taste too! BUT never....never....change that wonderful icing!
Here is a carrot cake that is simple to make and very nice on the tongue! 

Carrot cake with cream cheese icing 
This will make two 8" or 9" layers
I adapted this recipe from Bo Friberg's Professional Pastry Chef

4 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
14 oz. granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
9 oz. all purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 LB. grated carrots
4 oz. crushed canned pineapple
2 oz. shredded sweetened coconut
(or if you prefer the more traditional style use 
4 oz. chopped walnuts 
2 oz. raisins instead of the pineapple and coconut)

Using a stand mixer with the whip attachment, whip the eggs at high speed until light and frothy.
Turn the mixer down to medium speed and add the oil in slowly. Turn the mixer down to low and add the sugar and salt. 
Sift together the flour, cinnamon, soda and baking powder. 
Using the paddle attachment, add the dry ingredients into the wet and then by hand fold in the carrots and your choice of the other fruits. 
Pour into the prepared pans and bake at 375F for about 40 minutes or until the cake springs back and a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool on rack and after about 15 minutes turn it out of the pan to cool completely. 

Cream Cheese icing

8 oz. cream cheese
8 oz. unsalted butter softened to room temperature
8 oz. powdered sugar sifted
1 teaspoon excellent vanilla extract

In your mixing bowl with the paddle attachment cream together the cheese and the butter until smooth and no lumps appear. Add the vanilla and the powdered sugar. Mix on slow speed until the sugar has mixed in completely and then turn up the mixer to medium speed and whip until smooth and creamy. 
Keep cold and re whip if necessary. 

Fill and ice your cake with this and if you need more cake or icing these recipes can be double easily.
You can coat the outside edges with either chopped walnuts or toasted coconut and I made marzipan carrots for each slice... this is fun but tedious... enjoy!


Janice said...

This carrot cake is to die for, I just want to grab it and eat it right now.

Vanilla Queen said...

Beautiful looking, delicious sounding, makes me want a piece this minute. Surprised that the cake itself doesn't have vanilla in it. Because Bo is European where they don't use vanilla as much as here?

Martha Stewart had a carrot cake recipe in her magazine a few months ago that suggested double the amount of frosting in your (and most) recipe. I know that I tend to run short when making a filled cake of this size but double the frosting sounds like overkill. How do you make one batch of frosting cover the cake well?

chefany said...

I do use vanilla in the icing of course! And sometimes I scrape a vanilla bean or use the ground vanilla powder so you can see all those beautiful seeds in it! As far as the icing goes this will make a relatively small cake (8") if you choose to make the larger (9") you may need a little more icing. I don't use much on the sides of the cake and cover them with chopped nuts or coconut this saves a bunch. I also use a small amount in the middle and most on the top so you can still taste the yumminess of the cake.
As I mentioned this recipe can be doubled easily :)

stephchows said...

mmmm i love love LOVE carrot cake! Yours looks awesome!

Elaine said...

Hi Chef, how do prevent cream cheese frosting from melting? Invariably it gets runny and doesn't pipe well. How long do I whip it?

Art said...

Hello! Chefany. Thank you very much for the recipe. I hope it can be done this week. And as the taste will tell you that it seemed to me, if only to see it I guess as you know. Congratulations for your work. Greetings from Mexico.