02 March 2013

Carrot Cake of Awesome (with non-cream cheese icing)

Cake when done wrong is a travesty: dry, bland, heavy. Cake when done right, however, is moist, delicious, rich--you want to keep eating until it makes you sick (although hopefully it never goes that far). This carrot cake is done right.
The ingredients you'll need
Oil, sugar, eggs

The wet ingredients after mixing

Flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon

Toasted pecans

A few pulses of the food processor and the pecans are chopped

A food processor will save your sanity (and possibly your knuckles): these carrots took seconds to grate.

Carrots, pineapple, coconut, pecans, vanilla

After the final mixing

Ready to go

Freshly baked

Deliciously browned on the bottom too

The SO doesn't like cream cheese so I went with a buttercream icing: powdered sugar, butter, milk, vanilla

Cake sandwich of deliciousness

I pretty much suck at icing cakes but this one isn't too bad.

Worth the effort, the wait, and the calories.
Best Carrot Cake with Vanilla Buttercream
[My cake was made using this recipe.]

Wet Ingredients
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil [I used sunflower]
2 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs [I use free range]

Dry Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon

The Extras
2 cups grated carrots [about 8 small-medium]
1 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut
1 cup pecans, toasted* and chopped
1 cup canned crushed pineapple in juice, undrained
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350F.

Mix wet ingredients until well blended. Add dry ingredients all at once and mix until blended. Stir in extras just until incorporated. Batter will be lumpy.

Pour batter into a lightly greased 9 x 13" pan, or two 8 or 9" pans. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. I found that my cakes were browning too quickly while remaining liquid on the inside, so for the last 10 minutes or so I reduced the oven temperature to 300F. Cool cakes in pans, then gently turn out onto rack. Let cakes cool completely before icing.

*To toast, place nuts on an ungreased baking sheet in a single layer. Bake at 300F for about 10 minutes or until lightly fragrant.

Vanilla Buttercream

Carrot cake is usually served with a cream cheese icing, which is lovely but not everyone likes cream cheese--including my SO. But he does like carrot cake. Wanting to make an iced carrot cake he would enjoy I tried Magnolia's vanilla buttercream recipe, and I'm happy to report it was a resounding success. The buttercream is easy to make, delicious, and works well with this cake. Feel free to use whatever icing you like but I highly recommend trying this one at least once.

Makes enough for one 2-layer 9" cake or for 2 dozen cupcakes

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 to 6 cups powdered (aka confectioners') sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then milk and vanilla. On medium speed of an electric mixer beat until smooth and creamy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, one cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. You may not need to add all the sugar [I only needed to add one additional cup]. If desired add a few drops of food colouring and mix thoroughly [I didn't add any]. Use and store the icing at room temperature because it will set if it's chilled. Icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Photos by Whimsy Bower

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