Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Ultimate Carrot really it's seriously delicious

Okay, okay, I know its only Thursday, but can we please talk about the weekend?  About sleeping in and mornings lazing around with a good book and a giant cup of coffee.  I see this in my future. Sometimes I feel like weekends in DC really start on Thursday even when you do have to work on Friday.  Fridays in my office are always just a little bit more the fall and winter they involve really its a thing.  In the spring and summer they involve flip flops and florals.  It helps to change things up a bit and is definitely better than Mondays.  I am really excited for this weekend, because it is going to be all about good food.  All about enjoying the simple things...dinner with friends at a great restaurant; waking up on Saturday with no plans and nothing to have to rush off to.  Plus, a little baking to wrap up a nice Sunday with some great fall light sneaking through the windows.  The light I can't catch baking in the early morning hours or after work now.  Hopefully I can catch a few good shots.

Recently, I have been writing about trying to see things from different perspectives.  Paint Nite really showed that we all perceive the things we see differently.

Fall is fully here in DC and the leaves are finally changing.

Last week though there was carrot.  I poured my love into this carrot cake.  I wanted it to be absolutely delicious, filled with tons of spice and crazy moist, and I wanted it to be topped with cream cheese frosting that you just couldn't get enough of.  And finally after years of testing different carrot cake recipes, I think I found the one.  My new go to, fail proof, best carrot cake I have ever made recipe.  I am so excited to share this with you!

This cake might have been naked, but the frosting was so thick between the layers you didn't even miss it on the outside.

Simply Delicious Carrot Cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves (optional)
3/4 cup canola oil
3 large eggs
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 cups grated carrots
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup raisins

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 8-ounce block 1/3 fat cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5-6 cups powdered sugar

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line three 9" inch round pans with parchment paper and spray sides with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.

2.  Drain the pineapple and grate the carrots, then set aside.

3.  In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ground ginger.

4.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the canola oil, eggs, sugar, vanilla extract and buttermilk.

5.  In two additions, whisk the dry ingredients into the wet, just until combined.  Then gently fold in the grated carrots, pineapple, shredded coconut, pecans and raisins.

6.  Divide the batter evenly between the three prepared cake pans.  Place in the preheated oven on the center rack. Bake for 15 minutes and then rotate the pans on the rack.  Bake for another 10 minutes or until tooth pick comes out clean and cakes are set.  Remove from the oven and let completely cool in pans on wire racks.  While the cakes are cooling prepare the frosting.

7.  To prepare the frosting, using an electric mixer, cream the butter and cream cheese together until fully combined, 3-4 minutes on medium speed.  Then mix in 2 cups powdered sugar until fully combined, starting off on low speed and moving to medium.  Next, mix in the vanilla extract and two more cups powered sugar, again starting on low and moving to medium.  Then mix in the remaining cup of powdered sugar.  Once it is just combined, mix on high speed for about 30 second to whip some air in.  If the consistency still seems a bit off, mix in 1/2 cup powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached.

8.  Remove the cooled cakes from their pans.  Place the bottom layer on your cake plate, if it has a light hump, use a serrated knife to level it off.  Place a good amount of frosting in the center and then frost to the outside of the cake.  Place the next layer of cake on top, leveling if needed, and repeat the process.  With the top layer, place most of the remaining frosting on the top and then lightly frost the outside of the cake with the remaining frosting, then spread out the frosting on top.  Serve at room temperature and Enjoy!

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