Alice Medrich has a gift for taking simple, basic dessert recipes and weaving them into amazing (yet still simple to make) creations. I’ve tried many carrot cake recipes, and this one wins big for being tender, light, not too sweet, and super flavorful (it’s slightly spicier than the usual carrot cake in the best possible way). The recipe is easy to make and doesn’t require a mixer, and it also makes a lot so you have lots to share.
Classic Carrot Cake
(from Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts by Alice Medrich – http://alicemedrich.com/books/; My notes are in italics between [ ]. )
Makes 12 servings
For the Cake:
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
2 cups (14 oz) sugar
4 large eggs
2 cups (9 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups (12 oz) lightly packed grated peeled carrots [about 6 large carrots]
1 cup (3 1/2 oz) coarsely chopped walnuts [I used pecans instead]
For the Frosting
8 oz cream cheese, slightly softened [1 package]
8 tablespoons (4 oz) unsalted butter; slightly softened [1 stick]
1 1/2 cups (6 oz) powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
To Make the Cake
- Position a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease a 9-by-13 inch baking dish. [I used a metal baking dish lined with parchment].
- Combine the oil, sugar, and eggs in a large bowl, and beat with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until well mixed.
- Add the dry ingredients and beat until smooth. [I combined the dry ingredients in a separate bowl to make sure they were well mixed together. Then I added that mixture to the wet ingredients.]
- Add the carrots and nuts and mix until well incorporated.
- Scrape the batter into the baking dish and spread it evenly. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the baking dish on a rack, for at least 2 hours before frosting.
To Make the Frosting
- Combine all the frosting ingredients in a medium bowl. Mix by hand or electric mixer until smooth.
To Assemble the Cake
- Drop dollops of frosting all over the top of the cake, then spread evenly with a small spatula or the back of a clean wooden spoon.
- Cover and refrigerate the cake until ready to serve. Cut into 3-inch squares to serve.
The cake keeps for up to 5 days; bring to room temperature before serving.
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