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Carrot Cake Recipe & Video

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Carrot Cake never seems to go out of style. This rich and moist spice cake, full of grated carrot, toasted nuts, and crushed pineapple, has great flavor, especially when covered with a tangy sweet Cream Cheese Frosting. The interesting part is that while those pretty orange flecks of grated carrot give the Carrot Cake color and texture, along with sweetness and moisture, its' flavor is almost indistinguishable. I think the biggest debate surrounding the Carrot Cake is whether crushed pineapple or applesauce should be added to the batter. Adding either of these ingredients gives the cake added flavor and moisture so, if you like, instead of the crushed pineapple, you could add 1/2 cup of applesauce to the batter

 

Although using carrots in baking may seem odd, Alan Davidson in 'The Oxford Companion to Food' tells us that carrots were used in European sweet cakes since the Middle Ages when other sweeteners were hard to find or just too expensive. In fact, carrots, along with beets, contain more sugar than most other vegetables which might explain their use in desserts. Speaking of carrots, the orange carrots we enjoy today originated from the purple variety grown in Afghanistan since the 7th Century AD. As carrots moved westward into Europe the orange variety came about and this is the variety the English settlers brought to America. 'Carrot' comes from the Greek word "karōton" and the Greeks started the belief that eating carrots would improve your eyesight. John Ayto in "An A-Z of Food & Drink" tells how during World War II the British furthered this belief by saying that British pilots improved their night vision by eating huge amounts of carrots. They were, however, only trying to encourage the eating of carrots as it was one of the few foods that were not in short supply during the war.

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Carrot Cake: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Butter, or spray with a non stick vegetable spray, two - 9 x 2 inch (23 x 5 cm) cake pans and line the bottoms of the pans with a circle of parchment paper. 

Toast the pecans or walnuts for about 8 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant. Let cool and then chop coarsely.

Peel and grate the carrots. 

In a separate bowl, whisk or sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and ground cinnamon.

In bowl of your electric stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer), beat the eggs until frothy (about 1 minute). Add the sugar and vanilla extract and beat, on high speed, until the batter is thick and light colored (about 3 - 4 minutes). With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the oil in a steady stream and then beat until combined. Beat in the crushed pineapple. Add the flour mixture and beat just until incorporated. With a large rubber spatula fold in the grated carrots and chopped nuts. Evenly divide the batter between the two prepared pans (about 775 grams of batter in each pan) and bake 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (the cake starts to pull away from the sides of the pan).  

Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. After 10 minutes invert the cakes onto the wire rack, remove the pans and parchment paper, re-invert, and then cool completely before frosting. 

Cream Cheese Frosting: In the bowl of your electric stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract and beat until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the lemon juice and beat until incorporated. Add the soft cream cheese in four to five additions (scraping the bowl as needed), beating until incorporated and the frosting is nice and smooth.

To Assemble: Place one layer of the cake on a cardboard cake board or your serving platter. Spread with about 3/4 cup (150 grams) of the frosting. Gently place the second cake layer onto the frosting and spread the rest of the frosting over the top and sides of the cake. If desired, garnish with toasted nuts. The cake can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for about five days. Serve cold or bring to room temperature before serving. Well wrapped, the cake can also be frozen for about one month. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight.

Serves abut 12 - 14 people.

Note: You could bake this cake in a 9 x 13 x 2 inch (23 x 33 x 5 cm) pan. Just increase the baking time to between 30 to 40 minutes.

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Carrot Cake Recipe:

1 cup (100 grams) pecans or walnuts

3/4 pound (340 grams) raw peeled carrots (about 2 1/2 cups grated)

2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon (4 grams) baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons (6 grams) baking powder

1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) salt

1 1/2 teaspoons (2 grams) ground cinnamon

4 large (200 grams) eggs, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups (300 grams) granulated white sugar

2 teaspoons (8 grams) pure vanilla extract

1 cup (240 ml/215 grams) vegetable, corn, safflower, or canola oil

1 - 8 ounce can (226 grams) crushed pineapple, drained (optional)

Cream Cheese Frosting:

7 tablespoons (100 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups (180 grams) confectioners (icing or powdered) sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon (4 grams) pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon (4 grams) freshly squeezed lemon juice

12 ounces (340 grams) full fat cream cheese, softened

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