Classic Carrot Cake with hints of cinnamon and clove made super moist by pineapple as a secret ingredient. Carrot Cake is fast becoming the most requested cake for wedding cakes because of it's tasty universal appeal. And with Carrots as the main ingredient you could even say it is healthy. Well, almost. When you ice it with my amazing Cream Cheese Icing you will have an incredible combination of flavors that are both classic and proof you are Cooking The Amazing.
Total Prep and cooking time approx. 1 1/4 hr.
Total Cooling and Icing time approx. 2 1/2 hrs
2 c All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 c Sugar
1/4 c Brown Sugar, packed (dark or light)
1 1/2 t Baking Soda
1 t Baking Powder
1 t Salt
4 t Cinnamon
1/4 t Nutmeg
1/8 t Ground Cloves
1/4 t Ground Ginger
2 c Finely Grated Peeled Carrot, packed
1 c Coconut Flakes, sweetened
1 c Raisins (Optional)
1 can 8 oz Crushed Pineapple, drained
(reserve 1 T of drained Pineapple juice)
1 1/2 c Walnuts or Pecans, chopped small pieces
1 c Vegetable Oil
2 t Vanilla Extract
1 T Finely Grated Fresh Orange Zest
3 Eggs, extra large
Pam non stick Cooking Spray
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare two 9 inch cake pans by spraying with Vegetable non-stick spray (like Pam Spray) and line with a parchment paper round on the bottom then spray the top of the parchment. Or spray a 9 X 13 baking pan with Vegetable non stick spray (like Pam Spray) or use 20 jumbo Cupcake liners in a Muffin tin without using Pam spray.
In a large bowl whisk well: Flour, Sugar, Brown Sugar, Baking Soda, Baking Powder, Salt, all Spices.
Peel then Grate approx 5-6 medium Carrots to yield 2 cups packed. Grate Carrots finely to no more than 1/4 inch pieces. Or process in a food processor until finely grated but not mush. It is important that you peel the Carrots before grating. You do not want the tough skins in your cake.
In a medium bowl or KitchenAid bowl add Carrots, Grated Fresh Orange Peel, Drained Pineapple, Raisins (optional), Coconut Flakes, Walnuts or Pecans and mix well with a big spoon.
To this mixture add the Vegetable Oil, Vanilla Extract and Eggs one at a time mixing in well then add 1 T of the reserved Pineapple juice and mix well. Scrape down bowl often.
Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix with a hand mixer or Kitchen Aid for about 1 minute until well mixed. Do not over mix.
Pour divided into prepared (as above) 9 inch cake pans, or 9 X 13 pan, or approximately 20 Cupcake liners filled 3/4 full or a 9 X 13 baking sheet sprayed with Pam but no parchment paper needed.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 mins for Cupcakes, 35-40 minutes for 9 inch layer cakes and 45-50 mins for 9 X 13 in the center of the oven. Half way through cooking rotate the pans for even cooking. A toothpick will come out clean when done. All ovens vary in timing so check at lowest time first and if not done put back in oven and recheck in 2- 3 minutes.
Allow to cool completely in pan for 1-2 hrs. before removing to ice with Cream Cheese Icing. Recipe below. Place 1/4 of icing between the two layers and when placing the top cake layer on, put the flat side of the cake (the bottom when it was in the cake pan) facing up for a flat top which makes a more attractive cake and easier to ice.
This cake is super moist and fragile so handle with care when removing from pans and icing. If it breaks the icing will hide any imperfections.
TIP: Add 1 cup of golden raisins or chopped dried cherries or apricots for a twist on tradition.
TIP: Black Walnuts will give this cake the most flavor. Sprinkle the top of the cake with Walnuts or Pecans as a tasty garnish.
CREAM CHEESE ICING
Here is the recipe:
2 sticks Butter, unsalted, softened
16 oz. Cream Cheese, softened (2 bars)
3 c Powdered Sugar
4 t Vanilla Extract
1/4 t Almond Extract
1 small pinch Salt (very small pinch)
Total Prep Time: 7 minutes (except time to soften butter and cream cheese.)
Allow Butter and Cream Cheese to sit out until at room temperature and softened.
In a large bowl, place the softened Butter.
Cream the Butter with a hand mixer for 2 minutes. Then add the Cream Cheese and cream for 2 minutes or so more until well mixed.
1 cup at a time, add the Powdered Sugar and blend well.
Add Salt, Vanilla and Almond Extracts and mix well. Taste and add more Powdered Sugar to be more sweet or more Cream Cheese to suit your taste.
Keep Cream Cheese Icing at room temperature for the best consistency to ice Cakes.
Refrigerate unused icing. To use again, bring to room temperature then mix with a hand mixer for about 1 minute before using.
OPTION: For those that like a very strong Cream Cheese taste add another 4 oz. of Cream Cheese for a more intense flavor.