I couldn't decide what to make until I was flipping through a cookbook and was hit with carrot cake. I flipped a little more but couldn't shake the carrot cake. Carrot cake? For realz? Yes. I was compelled to make carrot cake, a dessert I've never ever made before and wasn't totally sure I liked. For the record, I do like. But don't feed me a raw carrot, I'm not a horse. My carrots shall be cooked or baked. I digress. Wanna know what Sybil said when I told what kind of cake it was? "Oh I love carrot cake!" She loves it. Winner.
I think my Spidey-senses told me she likes carrot cake because she never goes for things that are ultra-rich. I'm pretty sure her favorite pie is raisin pie. To each her own on that one. This cake benefits greatly from the toasted pecans in the batter. Side note: Do you say pe-can or pih-cahn? I def say pe-can in most situations. It's a sweet cake without being cloying. And when have you ever turned down brown sugar cream cheese frosting? I'm going with never.
Orange-Carrot Cake (serves 8-10)
Adapted slightly from MyRecipes.com
2 c pecans, chopped
2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 c (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 c sugar
4 large eggs
1/4 c milk
1 tbs minneola or orange zest
1/4 c minneola or orange juice
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 c finely grated carrot (Note: The recipe estimated about 6 carrots, but mine must've been on steroids because I only needed 2 1/2 large carrots)
- Preheat oven to 375º. Spread chopped pecans on a baking sheet in a single layer and toast for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool. Line two greased 9-inch round baking pans with wax paper on the bottom.
- Spoon flour into measuring cup and level with a knife. Sift together flour and next four ingredients. Cream butter and sugar together with an electric mixer in a large bowl. Add eggs one at a time, blending until thoroughly incorporated. Add milk and half of flour mixture and blend. Add the rest of the flour and blend until incorporated.
- Stir in citrus juice, zest, vanilla extract, carrot, and toasted nuts. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans and bake at 375º for 40 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Cover with foil if cake begins to get too brown.
- Let layers cool in pans for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
5 tbs butter, room temperature
2/3 c packed dark brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 c confectioner's sugar, sifted
Pinch of salt
- Beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth using an electric mixer in a large bowl.
- Add brown sugar and vanilla and beat until completely incorporated.
- Add confectioner's sugar and salt and beat on a low speed until smooth and spreadable.
- Place first layer of cake on serving platter. Frost the top and add the second layer. Frost top of cake and sides, using all frosting.