Carrot cake

My first attempt at staging photos like Half-Baked Harvest.

This rich, moist, decadent, warm and spicy cake was everything I needed it to be. I dove into a piece as soon as I possibly could and shared the wealth with friends. If you’re looking to celebrate or impress any time soon, make this beauty for sure.

Top tips from me:
1) First things first, I couldn’t find any freshly grated nutmeg, so I subbed in ground mace, which is actually made from nutmeg anyways and has a similar flavor. 
2) My grater only has a very small size and a very large size so I did a combination to make sure my carrots weren’t too small.
3) I’d stick to the shorter side of baking time to avoid drying out the cakes. 35 minutes was the perfect amount of time for me.
4) The recipe did call for the domed sides to be down, however, that proved to not work for me when it came to frosting and my cake then split later from the uneven bottom. I would recommend trimming the dome off of one of the layers and putting that on the bottom, then when adding the next layer on top, make sure to put the domed side on top. Otherwise, your cake may dome a lot like mine and later split or have large gaps on the bottom. I discreetly covered up that gap with some piping but it was a bit empty there.
5) I am usually terrible at frosting and piping, though I’m working on getting better at that. I have this 
OXO icing knife set, though, that made it so much easier to apply an even layer with less flaws. I would recommend using some similar knife or spatula for ease.
6) Feel free to add some swirls like Mark suggested, pipe some swirls or sprinkle walnuts on top like I did. Go wild!

Time:
Excluding the eight or so hours I froze the cakes, this took about two and a half hours. The golden raisins and walnuts need some care before making the cake batter, and then decorating the cake does take some time. It’s your typical layer cake that will serve at least 8 slices.

Ingredients:
Nonstick spray — parchment paper — 1/2 cup golden raisins — 1 cup water — 1 cup chopped walnuts — 1 lb carrots, peeled and coarsely grated — 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature — 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour — 2 tsp ground cinnamon — 2 tsp ground ginger — 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg — 2 tsp baking powder — 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus a pinch for the frosting — 3/4 teaspoon baking soda — 4 large eggs — 1 cup granulated sugar —3/4 cup dark brown sugar —3 tsp vanilla extract, 2 for cake and 1 for frosting — 3/4 cup vegetable oil — 12 oz cream cheese, room temperature — 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature — 4 cups powdered sugar

Instructions: 

– Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat two 9″-diameter cake pans with nonstick spray. Line bottoms with parchment paper rounds; lightly coat rounds with nonstick spray.

– If using raisins, heat in a small saucepan with water over low just until warm, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit until liquid is absorbed and raisins are plump, about 15–20 minutes.

– Meanwhile, toast walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing once, until golden brown, 8–10 minutes. Then let cool.

– Peel and grate carrots then combine with buttermilk in a medium-sized bowl.

– Whisk flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a large bowl and set aside.

– Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract until pale and thick, about 4 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low and gradually stream in oil.

– Add dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with carrot mixture in 2 additions, beginning and ending with dry ingredients; mix until smooth. Fold in raisins, if using, and walnuts with a rubber spatula.

– Scrape batter into prepared pans. Bake cakes, rotating pans halfway through, until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 35–45 minutes.

– Transfer pans to a wire rack and let cakes cool 10 minutes. Freeze all layers overnight.

– The next day, prepare your frosting before removing the cakes. Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl until smooth, about 1 minute. Beat in vanilla extract and salt.

– Reduce speed to low and gradually mix in powdered sugar. Increase speed to high and beat frosting until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

– On a cake platter or stand of choice, place one layer domed side down. Spread 3/4 cup frosting evenly over top.

– Place remaining cake layer, domed side down, on top. Spread top and sides with 1 1/4 cups frosting and chill 30 minutes to let frosting set.

– Spread remaining frosting over top and sides, swirling decoratively. Add any sort of decorations you want. Allow the cake to thaw for about 30 more minutes before slicing and serving.

Did you make this recipe and love it? Have any suggestions? Leave a comment!

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