I wanted to find a new dessert to celebrate Easter, and carrot cake was a frequenter of many Easter dessert lists I came across, thematic I suppose because bunnies > carrots. I’d always enjoyed carrot cake and thought it high time I try my hand at it.
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
¾ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground allspice
2 cups packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup sunflower or canola oil
1 lb carrots, trimmed, peeled and coarsely grated
Cream cheese frosting
2 8-oz packages cream cheese, room temperature
11 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1⅓ cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted after measuring
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 375 F. Butter bottom and sides of 2 9″ cake pans and line bottoms with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix brown sugar on low to break up any lumps. Add 1 egg and continue to mix on low until smooth. Add remaining eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated. Add oil in thin, steady stream and continue to beat until fully incorporated. Add the flour mixture in 3 batches, using a large rubber spatula to fold the mixture together until just incorporated. Fold in carrots.
Divide batter between prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake until the layers are firm and risen and the tip of a paring knife inserted into the centre comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Transfer to the wire rack to cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then invert onto the rack, peel off parchment, and flip them so they’re right side up again. Let layers cool completely. Note: Can be baked ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator (double-wrapped in plastic wrap) for 2 days.
To make the frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine cream cheese and butter and beat on medium until smooth, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add sugar and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Place 1 cake layer on a plate and cover the top with about ⅓ of the frosting. Invert the second layer on top of the frosted bottom layer so that the flat side is on top. Spread the remaining frosting on the sides and top of the cake. Keep at cool room temperature until serving time.
I am happy to report that my first attempt at carrot cake was a success! The cake was moist and flavourful, and the frosting (which I’m always a bit reticent about because I hate overly sweet frosted desserts) was a tangy complement and not at all over-powering. The cake came together surprisingly easily but still makes for a fairly impressive two-layer display. In making the cake portion, it reminded me greatly of the zucchini bread I make, and I imagine this would similarly do well as a loaf. It was a hit at all of the gatherings it attended, which thankfully meant I didn’t have to consume the entire cake myself!