Carrot cake was conceived in Medieval times when fruitcake and gingerbread were commonly made in bakers guilds. As sweeteners became scarce and uneconomical the carrot was a perfect alternative for cakes and puddings because of its natural sugars.
In our home carrot cake is used to reclaim the vegetable drawer from the family of baby, adult and rainbow carrots that alway seem to be “squatters” in our fridge. I am positively against throwing away food because I have “food waste anxiety” due to a history of being ceaselessly told “There are starving kids in Africa” and having a timer set to finish my plate or go to bed. Alas my unconscious need to utilize everything in my fridge was at ease as this most amazing spiced carrot cake recipe was developed.
Warning: This is “the one” many of our Instagram followers have been waiting for us to share, I resisted at first but it’s not fair to deny the world of this masterpiece. This is the best recipe of my agglomeration, every person who has tried this carrot cake says its greatness is unrivaled. Print this one and use it for birthdays, weddings and Easter because it is sure to impress.
2 tsp Baking Soda
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 & 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Allspice
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
1 tsp Iodized Salt
2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
3 Cups Shredded Carrots (About 8 Large Carrots)
1 Cup Shredded Coconut, Unsweetened
1 Cup Coarsely Chopped Pecans
1/2 Cup Dried Cranberries
1 Cup Vegetable Oil
2 Cups Superfine Sugar
4 Large Eggs
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and position racks evenly.
2. Butter 3- 9×12″ round pans then flour the insides and lightly tap the pan upside down to release the excess flour. (I used a 9×2 and a 9×3 spring-form pans therefore I had to cook the 9×3 longer and then carefully cut it in half with a cake knife once fully cooled.)
3. Sift together the first seven dry ingredients; BS, BP, Cin, AS, Nut, Sa, APFL.
4. In a stand mixer with paddle attachment or in a large bowl with a hand mixer beat the oil and sugar on medium until fully incorporated and then add eggs one at a time until smooth.
5. On low add the sifted dry ingredients in three parts mixing only until dissolved.
6. Add the Carrot, Coconut, Pecan, and Cranberries into the batter.
7. Evenly distribute the batter into the greased and floured pans.
8. Bake for a total of 50 minutes at 325 degrees Fahrenheit. At 20 minutes in, rotate the pans from top shelf to bottom and turn the front of the pans backward to ensure even cooking. Test the cakes doneness but inserting a toothpick or knife into the center, if it comes out clean the cake is finished. At this point the edges of the cake should be partially free from the sides of the pan.
9. Let cakes cool completely before gently removing them from the pans. Circle a knife around the edges if they are too tight to slide out.
Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients
1/2 lb Cream Cheese, room temperature (8oz)
1/4 lb Unsalted Butter (conversions: 4 oz, 1/2cup or 1 stick)
1 lb Confectioners Sugar, sifted (3&3/4cup)
1/2 oz Lemon Rind (1 tbs or roughly 1/2 lemon)
12 Pecan Halves
2 oz Shredded Unsweetened Coconut (1/2 cup)
In a stand mixer with paddle attachment or in a medium bowl with a hand mixer beat the cream cheese and butter together until creamy and smooth.
Add the lemon rind.
In three portions mix in the confectioners sugar until smooth.
For a professional cake the frosting must be almost perfectly smooth on top. As a former bakery cake decorator here are my (Kate’s) tips:
•Place first cake round on the serving plate, evenly spread a generous layer of frosting over the top. Repeat for the second layer of cake and frosting and top with the third layer of cake.
•The first layer of frosting is called the crumb coat. This is a very thin layer that you apply and let dry to catch the crumbs and seal the moisture into the cake. Evenly and carefully frost an 1/8″ layer of frosting over entire cake with a large angled spatula or with the flat side of a butter knife.
•Applying the top coat of frosting: Start with a generous amount of frosting on your angled spatula and with the spatula handle pointed straight down (parallel to the cake) and the blade at a 30 degree angle on the side of the cake, rotate around the cake in a steady motion. If you have the cake on a lazy Suzan it will make rotation easier. When all of the sides are covered with a layer of top coat frosting clean the blade of your spatula and run hot water over it, taking note not to dry off the spatula. The warmth and water will help you smooth out lines and even out the thickness of the frosting.
Frost the top of the cake in the same way only parallel to the top of the cake and swooping the blade in a 3/4 rotation then pulling the blade off of the edge of the cake to finish frosting. Follow smoothing instructions as previously stated and smooth the ridge of the top of the cake.
•While frosting is wet : With the shredded coconut in hand gently pat it into the side of the cake evenly around. Or with desiccated coconut sprinkle the top of the cake evenly. Position Pecan halves evenly around the top of the cake to finish.
•Refrigerate cake for one hour before serving to set the frosting.
•Cake can be out at room temperature covered for no more than three days or frozen for two months. Refrigerating the cake is best if your home is above 72 degrees Fahrenheit but may dry out the cake.
•Frosted cakes are best frozen uncovered and then sealed airtight after hardened. Defrost cake while sealed in refrigerator overnight.
^The sides of my cake are not perfect, however my original intension was to apply a layer of coconut to them but opted for the top decoration instead.