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English Carrot Cake

April 26, 2010
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It was my spiritual mentor & another member’s birthday. Being relatively free and not willing to take the risk of spending 20 dollars on mascarpone frosting to make this red cake I oogling at, I chose to make the humble but prideful looking carrot cake with the kindest instructions from Joy of Baking.

Ingredients for the cake:

3/4 pound (340 grams) raw carrots (about 2 1/2 cups finely grated)
2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

4 large eggs

1 1/2 cups (300 grams) granulated white sugar

1 cup (240 ml) safflower, vegetable or canola oil

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Frosting:

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1/4 cup (57 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

8 ounces (227 grams) cream cheese, room temperature

2 cups (230 grams) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon (4 grams) pure vanilla extract

finely grated lemon zest of one lemon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Butter or spray two – 9 x 2 inch (23 x 5 cm) cake pans and line the bottoms of the pans with a circle of parchment paper. 

Toast the pecans or walnuts for about 8 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant. Let cool and then chop coarsely.

Peel and finely grate the carrots. Set aside.

In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and ground cinnamon. Set aside.

In bowl of electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the eggs until frothy (about 1 minute). Gradually add the sugar and beat until the batter is thick and light colored (about 3 – 4 minutes). Add the oil in a steady stream and then beat in the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat just until incorporated. With a large rubber spatula fold in the grated carrots and chopped nuts. Evenly divide the batter between the two prepared pans and bake 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  

Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. After about 5 -10 minutes invert the cakes onto the wire rack, remove the pans and parchment paper, and then cool completely before frosting. 

To assemble: place one cake layer, top side down, onto your serving plate. Spread with about one third of the frosting. Gently place the other cake, top of cake facing down, onto the frosting, and spread the rest of the frosting over the top and sides of the cake. If desired, press toasted and finely chopped nuts on the sides of the cake and decorate the top of the cake with marzipan carrots (see below). Cover and refrigerate any leftovers.

Serves 10 – 12.

Cream Cheese Frosting: In bowl of electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the cream cheese and butter, on low speed, just until blended with no lumps. Gradually add the sifted powdered sugar and beat, on low speed, until fully incorporated and smooth.  Beat in the vanilla extract, and lemon zest.

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