Tuesday, July 19, 2011

July Birthdays 3 of 5: Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Oh what a wonderful weekend made even better by getting to bake a carrot cake on Sunday.  This cake was a direct request for the third office birthday in the month and my response was yes I will make you a carrot cake, it is my FAVORITE!  Plus I finally have an excuse to try out the Magnolia Bakery carrot cake recipe.

Seriously though.  Do you ever have those weekends that are just great?  The ones that are close to perfect? They may involve a perfect day, drinking with friends, overlooking the water on a sunny summer day.  One of those times where even though you get a little too much sun you don't really care.  Or crazy nights that start with peach and mango infused vodkas and end with pizza being eaten straight from the box on the side of the street at 3 in the morning.  They may involve getting to finally sleep in and then eating fluffy scratch made blueberry pancakes.

The fun ingredients: carrots, crushed pineapple, raisins and coconut.

The dry ingredients: all purpose flour, baking powder, salt, pumpkin spice and cinnamon.

The wet ingredients: butter, sugar, egg substitute and vanilla.

Yum!  Carrot cake is one of those baked goods that just makes your entire house smell delicious.  Well at least my entire house cause its about the size of a shoebox.

What is it about carrot cake with cream cheese frosting? Delicious!

Carrot Cake: (adapted from Magnolia Bakery's carrot cake recipe)
1 cup canola oil
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature or 3/4 cup egg substitute
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded carrots
One 8-ounce can crushed pineapple in its own juice, with juice
3/4 cup coconut
1 cup raisins

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray two 9 inch cakes pans with non-stick cooking spray and then line with a parchment paper round in the bottom.

2.  In a large mixing bowl, cream together sugar and canola oil.

3.  Whisk in eggs and vanilla extract until well combined.

4.  In another mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, pumpkin spice and salt.

5.  In another smaller mixing bowl, combine carrots, pineapple, coconut and raisins.

6.  Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, just until combined.  Then gently fold the carrot-pineapple mixture into the batter.

7.  Pour batter into prepared cake pans.  Bake for 40-45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Let cakes cool in pans for 8-10 minutes.  Then carefully remove cakes from pans and let cool completely on a cooling rack.  While cakes cool, prepare cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 ounces (1 package) 1/3 fat cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3/4 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 - 4 cups powdered sugar

1.  In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, cream the butter and cream cheese until smooth.

2.  Mix in the vanilla extract until well combined.

3.  Mix in the powdered sugar starting with one cup until well combined.  Continue mixing in the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, until desired consistency and taste.  I generally like my cream cheese frosting to be slightly sweet with a strong cream cheese flavor.  

4.  Assemble cakes.  For this particular cake, I did not frost the outside.  If you would like to frost the outside, the frosting recipe will need to be doubled.  Frost the cakes and enjoy! 

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