I tried to talk my mom into other birthday desserts this year to no avail. She loves carrot cake and there is nothing wrong with that! 🙂 One of my friends (a great cook!) shared her favorite recipe with me to try this year. It was wonderful! The cake was unbelievably light- probably because it has cake flour rather than all-purpose, and canola oil rather than butter. It is also gently mixed by hand- the texture was very delicate. I made a simple cream cheese frosting with fresh orange juice to make it special. The cake recipe was adapted from The Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking Cookbook.
Happy Birthday, Mom! 🙂
Yield: Makes one 9-inch layer cake or one 9-by-13 inch cake
For the Cake:
- 4 large carrots (3 cups shredded)
- 2 cups cake (soft-wheat) flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1½ cups sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1¼ cups canola oil
- Grated zest of 1 orange
- ½ cup raisins, plumped in hot water and drained
- 1 cup walnuts or pecans, toasted and chopped
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 lb cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- Juice of 1/2 orange, strained
- 1 T vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350’F. Butter and flour a 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking pan or butter and line two 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper to make a layer cake. Butter the parchment paper.
- Plump the raisins: Pour boiling water over raisins and let sit 15-20 minutes. Drain and reserve.
- Peel and grate the carrots. (I use a Cuisinart food processor.) You should have about 3 cups. Set aside.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the sugar, eggs, oil and orange zest. Whisk thoroughly to combine. Stir in the carrots.
- With a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until almost fully incorporated. Add the raisins and nuts and fold to mix thoroughly. Do not overmix! Pour the batter into the prepared pan(s).
- Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 minutes (for 9-inch round cake pans, on convection) to 40 minutes. Watch the time closely at the end so that the cake does not overbake.
- Remove the cake from the oven and let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Place a cake rack on top of the pan and invert them together. Lift off the pan. Let the cake cool completely.
- Make the cream cheese frosting: In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until thoroughly mixed. Add the confectioners’ sugar and mix on low speed until fully combined. Beat in the orange juice and vanilla.
- Transfer the cooled cake to a serving platter. Using an off-set spatula, frost the cake with a thick layer of cream cheese frosting. If making a layer cake, add the second layer, and frost entire cake.
- Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
If you like this you may also like: