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Carrot Cake Success!

Posted by: Rita in: ● April 16, 2011

I really like dessert and have a particular fondness for carrot cake… and so it was time that I put down the wooden spoon, fire up the oven, and pull out the mixer. Days of research went into picking the recipe to get me started. I played around with the idea of making a vegan version but really didn’t love the vegan cream cheeses used for the all-important frosting, and the other “faux” ingredients that are so very processed and full of chemicals… grossness. So until I find a more natural vegan alternative to the cream cheese frosting dilemma, I’m making the choice to stick with the full-fat real dairy version. The ultimate winner for the recipe I ended up adapting was Ina Garten (The Barefoot Contessa)’s Carrot and Pineapple Cake.

There will surely be several versions of this carrot cake as I try different variations of cake and icing, but this first shot came out so yummy I deemed it worthy of sharing now, just as I made it. Enjoy!

Cake ingredients:

1 cup real brown sugar

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1 individual serving all-natural apple sauce (about 1/2 cup)

3 extra-large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 cup golden raisins

1 cup  plus chopped pecans

1 pound carrots, grated

1/2 cup diced fresh pineapple

Frosting ingredients:

3/4 lb. cream cheese at room temperature

1/2 lb. unsalted butter

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 lb. confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter and flour two 8-inch round cake pans. You can also line them with parchment paper if you like, my pans were non-stick so I just buttered and floured them.

Beat the sugar, oil, applesauce and eggs with electric mixer, then add vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients, 2 1/2 cups flour, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Toss the raisins and pecans with the 1 tbsp. of flour, then add to the batter. FInally, add the carrots and pineapple and mix batter well. Divide the batter between the 2 pans and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Remove cakes from oven and let cool completely before proceeding.

For the frosting, mix cream cheese, butter and vanilla until smooth, then add the sugar.

You want a nice, proportional cake, so you may want to turn the second layer round-side down, or shave the rounded top off with a serrated knife to ensure your cake is not just delicious but also gorgeous. Spread 1/3 of icing on first layer, then add 2nd layer and spread remaining icing on top and sides of cake. Sprinkle top with chopped pecans. Refrigerate cake… this is key, in my opinion the cake tastes better the next day! I prefer my cake slightly chilled, but you serve it at whatever temperature you like.

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