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Chef Betharoni’s Fresh Garden Carrot Cake

During the week, I make sandwiches at work. During the weekend, I come home and want to bake cake. Fortunately, those around me are frequently willing to indulge me and eat cake.

just eat it - also good for breakfast!

just eat it – also good for breakfast!

Since it’s harvest season, and my sister requested a pinnable recipe for my version of carrot cake, that is how I most recently destroyed the kitchen. My first adventure with this recipe was scaling it up to make three large sheet cakes for a wedding reception and the penciled in weights still clutter up the margins of the cookbook, although I can’t imagine the next time I’ll need to create carrot cake in that quantity. Still, I was inspired to scale up just enough to create three 9×9 squares to layer. Impatience defeated the first layer as I was un-panning it while still warm, and it broke in half. This still left me with enough cake to throw together into a less impressive, but equally delicious two-layer cake held together by slathers of cream cheese frosting.

Fortunately for the fit of our jeans, we were heading for a pinochle night and tacos at a friend’s house, so we packed the cake up and took it along as our contribution to the meal. Some got left in the freezer for them and the remnants were brought home at midnight along with the exhausted card players. There are still a few corners of the moist cake tucked into our icebox, that I just need to make a smear of cream cheese frosting for. But you don’t need to come over and raid our cake scraps, because I’ll include the recipe for you.

 

 

The traditionally orange carrots are "Bolero" from my mother's garden. The purple one is also from the garden, but unidentified.

The traditionally orange carrots are “Bolero” from my mother’s garden. The purple one is also from the garden, but unidentified.

Carrots Cake

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 pound carrots
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 vegetable oil
The carrot pieces will mix better if coated with dry ingredients before mixing with other wet ingredients.

The carrot pieces will mix better if coated with dry ingredients before mixing with other wet ingredients.

1.  Heat your oven to 350°F.  Grease and parchment line a 13×9 inch pan.

2.  Whisk together the first seven ingredients and set aside.

3.  Peel and grate the carrots, then toss them lightly with the dry ingredients. You want to coat the carrots shreds with flour so that they will sit well in the batter, but not create a gummy mess by over-stirring at this point.

4.  Beat the sugars with the eggs until foamy, then slowly add the oil while still mixing.

5.  Stir together with the dry ingredients and pour into the prepared pan.

6.  Bake for 35-40 minutes. Then, let it cool.

7.  Once the cake is cool, you can unmold it and spread some cream cheese frosting over the surface. I’m not overly attached to any verision of cream cheese frosting, so I’ll include the one I last used:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 5 TBSP butter
  • 1 TBSP sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar

1.  Blend the first four ingredients together, then

2.  add the powdered sugar, sifting it if you want a perfectly smooth frosting.

Both the cake and frosting recipes are adapted from the Baking Illustrated cookbook.

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