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Oh, hello there.
Meet carrot cake — the only cake I have fallen madly in love with.
It is sweet, moist, complex and the lemon cream cheese frosting makes me go bonkers.
I was skeptical serving it to my family because it was, gasp, not chocolate cake.
You see, my family prefers things very plain.
Vanilla, chocolate, Coke no ice, ketchup only, no nuts, no weird spices, barbecue sauce on the side, you know what I mean.
But even my 15-year-old brother, who worships at the altar of all things plain (not to mention, Cookie Dough Pop-Tarts and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Cereal), couldn’t keep his paws off of it.
So I suggest you make this and prove to your family and friends that carrot cake is the bomb dot com.
too da loo,
peaches and cake
1 cup + another ¼ cup whole walnuts
12 oz. raw carrots (about 2 ½ cups, but better to go by weight), finely grated with a box grater or a food processor shredding disc
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 large eggs
1 ¼ cups granulated white sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
1 cup vegetable or canola oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Frosting:
5 tablespoons butter, room temperature
10 ounces Philadelphia cream cheese, room temperature
2 ½ cups confectioners (powdered) sugar, sifted
1 ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
finely grated zest of one medium lemon (about 1 to 1 ½ teaspoons), to taste
dash of salt
Preheat oven to 350°F and place rack in center of oven. Trace and cut out two 9” circles of parchment paper. Grease two 9-by-2-inch layer-cake pans and line each with parchment paper. Grease the paper and lightly flour the bottom and edges of each pan by rotating the pan in a circle. Shake off excess flour by tapping lightly. Set aside.
Spread walnuts on a baking sheet and roast for about 8 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant. (Alternatively you can toast the walnuts in a non-stick pan over medium-low heat for about 8 minutes.) Let cool and then chop coarsely.
Peel and finely grate the carrots using a box grater or a food processor with a shredding disc.
In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and ground cinnamon.
In bowl of electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the eggs until frothy (about 1 minute). Gradually add the sugar and beat until the batter is thick and light colored (about 3 – 4 minutes). Add the oil in a steady stream and then beat in the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat just until incorporated. Do not overmix. With a large rubber spatula fold in the grated carrots and 1 cup of the chopped nuts, reserving the extra ¼ cup for topping. Evenly divide the batter between the two prepared pans and bake 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or when the center of the cake springs back when lightly touched (this will vary depending on the heat of your oven, just keep an eye on it and bake until done).
Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. After about 5 -10 minutes turn the cakes out onto wire racks, remove the pans and parchment paper, and then cool completely before frosting.
Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting:
In bowl of electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the cream cheese and butter, on low speed, just until blended with no lumps. Add the confectioners’ sugar incrementally in stages until all mixed (this makes it less bubbly and lumpy). Beat in the vanilla extract. Beat in the lemon zest and a dash of salt to taste. Cool the frosting for a few minutes in the refrigerator before icing or until it can hold its own shape. (If you don’t do this, the frosting will just goop down the side of the cake.)
Carefully place one cake layer onto your serving plate, top side up. Using an offset spatula, spread with about half the frosting. Gently place the other cake onto the frosting, top side up, and spread the rest of the frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Garnish the remaining ¼ cup of chopped walnuts on the top of the cake. Serve. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers.
This cake tastes even better a day after it’s made!