You know you’ve reached the tipping point into adulthood when foods that used to make you cringe suddenly become scrumptious. This is my relationship with carrot cake. I hated it when I was a wee little chap. Carrots? Eww. Why taint a perfectly good cake with a vegetable?
However, eventually I saw the errors in my way. Now, I think of carrot cake as fall in a cake. How can you not? With all the spices involved and pretty orange color?
My dad threw an Olympic Opening Ceremony party this summer. I, of course, was in charge of organizing the dessert table. Big mistake. Turns out most people under the age of 60 don’t really like carrot cake. Man was I a hit with all my grandma’s friends, though.
I didn’t really care that by the end of the party there was all but a tiny sliver eaten. More for me to eat, eh? I felt bad for the cake because everyone gravitated towards my grandma’s legendary chocolate brownies (she makes them from a box, but I swear she slips some crack in there to make them infinitely better). The cake looked so sad and lonely standing there, begging to be eaten but ignored.
And apparently I’ve just given food feelings?
This cake isn’t too complicated if you’re accustomed to making cakes from scratch. The most frustrating (and painful) part for me was grating those stinking carrots. I should have just grabbed a bag of shredded carrots and been done with it. But no, I took the poor man’s way and decided to shred my own carrots.
However, once I tasted the batter (Oh, please. We all do it.) I knew I was in for a real nice time. My predictions were confirmed once I baked it.
My biggest concern when making any cake, particularly carrot cake, is it being dry. There is nothing worse than dolling up a cake, making it look all purrty, and then cackle cackle when you bite into it. File: The worst. This cake was perfectly moist and tasty. Of course, that depends on the baking time and oven temperature, but mine came out splendid, so it is possible.
I’ll tell you what, though. It’s all fun and games until the frosting gets involved. I blissfully made the cake. Checked it every five minutes to ensure it didn’t get dried out. Managed to get the layers out of the pan no problem. But then, the frosting came. Oh man, did the frosting cause a headache.
I just don’t think I’m cut out for layer cakes. My grandma sat back, choking back the laughter as I had a near meltdown because the frosting was lopsided and sad looking. She eventually came in with a “Megan, we can fix this. Don’t cry.” (No really, I was close to tears I got so frustrated). It’s just the crumbs kept getting into the pristine white frosting. It needed to loom perfect, okay!
So a tip from the wise: Freeze your cakes before you ice them. Save you a lot of head bangs against the counter.
This recipe calls for dates, raisins, or nuts. Obviously, included whatever your little heart desires. I used raisins and walnuts. It was a supreme choice if I do say so myself.
Adapted from: Southern Food
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
- 2 cups grated carrots
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 3 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup chopped nuts
- 3/4 cup chopped dates or raisins
- Beat together eggs, sugar, oil, grated carrots and vanilla.
- Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices; gradually add to carrot mixture and beat to blend well.
- Fold in chopped nuts and dates or raisins.
- Bake in a greased 10-inch tube pan at 350° for about 40 minutes. A wooden pick inserted in center should come out clean.
- Frost with cream cheese frosting