My father’s favorite cake flavor is carrot, slathered in cream-cheese frosting. This recipe, shared by a neighbor, is the cake my mother bakes every October for his birthday. It’s terrifically sweet and rich, but usually that’s exactly what you want in a birthday cake.
| ||1 || Tbsp. butter, for greasing the pan |
| ||2½ || cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus 1 Tbsp. for flouring the pan |
| ||½ || tsp. salt |
| ||1 || tsp. baking soda |
| ||1 || tsp. ground cinnamon |
| ||3 || eggs |
| ||2 || cups granulated sugar |
| ||1½ || cups canola or other neutral-flavored vegetable oil |
| ||1 || tsp. vanilla extract |
| ||2 || cups finely grated carrots (about 4 carrots), packed down |
| ||1 || can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple, drained |
| ||1 || cup pecans or walnuts, toasted and chopped (optional) |
| ||8 || Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened |
| ||8 || oz. cream cheese, softened |
| ||1 || lb. (16 ounces) powdered sugar |
| ||1½ || tsp. vanilla extract |
| ||1 || tsp. lemon juice |
| ||⅓ || cup pecans or walnuts, toasted and chopped (optional) |
- Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a Bundt or tube pan, or two layer pans. Sift all the dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, then mix in the sugar, oil, and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and mix well. Add in the carrots, pineapple, and nuts, if using. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan(s). Bake the Bundt or tube pan for 1 hour and 15 minutes, the layer pans for 50 to 55 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick; no crumbs should cling to the toothpick. Cool for 10 minutes on a rack, then run a knife around the insides of the pan(s) and invert onto racks to cool completely before frosting.
- Make the frosting: In a stand mixer or with an electric hand beater, cream together the softened butter and cream cheese. Slowly sift in the sugar, about ½ cup at a time, beating until fluffy. Add the vanilla and lemon juice when the frosting seems fluffy enough. Spread over the top and sides of the cooled cake. (Save some for the middle if using two layers; you will probably have excess frosting in any case.) Sprinkle the chopped nuts over the top, if using, and slice into wedges to serve.
My mother never adds raisins to this cake, but some people enjoy them in carrot cake. If you like, add 1/2 cup raisins to the cake batter along with the nuts. This is also a good cake to make by substituting whole-wheat pastry flour for some or all of the regular flour.