CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Carrot Cake

Two 5-gallon buckets of carrots. What’s a guy to do? Well, in my case, scrubbing and drying them is the No. 1 priority. After that, the fun begins.

As you might have guessed, I recently dug the carrots from my garden. I waited until we had a good frost before harvesting them because the plants respond to the cold by turning starches into sugar, thus making the carrots sweeter.

I haven’t started to clean them yet, but once that is done, you can bet there will be some serious cooking and baking happening. I can envision several pots of stew, boiled dinners and soup over the winter, all of which will contain a generous amount of root vegetables, including carrots. And I can’t forget to mention pot roasts cooked with carrots.

But first on my plate will be making some carrot cake. I looked over several recipes the past couple of days, and the following two caught my eye. Both have frosting that’s made with cream cheese, a must in my book when it comes to carrot cake.

After all, what’s cake without frosting?

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
1½ cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon salt
3 cups shredded carrots (5 medium)
1 cup coarsely chopped nuts
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
¼ cup butter or margarine, softened
2 to 3 teaspoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom and sides of 13-by-9-inch pan with shortening or cooking spray; lightly flour.
In large bowl, beat granulated sugar, oil and eggs with electric mixer on low speed about 30 seconds or until blended. Add flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, 1 teaspoon vanilla and the salt; beat on low speed 1 minute. Stir in carrots and nuts. Pour into pan.
Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
In medium bowl, beat cream cheese, butter, milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla with electric mixer on low speed until smooth. Gradually beat in powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, on low speed until smooth and spreadable. Frost cake. Store covered in refrigerator.

Old-Fashioned Carrot Cake
No-stick cooking spray
2 cups sugar
1½ cups  vegetable oil
4 large eggs
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
3 cups coarsely grated raw carrots
½ cup chopped nuts
½ cup raisins
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
¼ cup butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1-pound package powdered sugar
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 13-by-9-inch pan lightly with no-stick cooking spray.
Blend together sugar, oil and eggs in large bowl at medium speed of electric mixer for 2 minutes. Stir together flour, salt, cinnamon and soda in medium bowl. Add to sugar mixture. Beat at low speed 1 minute. Stir in carrots, nuts and raisins. Spread in prepared pan.
Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool completely.
Beat together softened cream cheese and butter. Add vanilla. Gradually beat in powdered sugar until desired spreading consistency, adding more powdered sugar to thicken or milk to thin frosting. Spread on cooled cake. Store in refrigerator.

2 thoughts on “CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Carrot Cake”

  • Nancy Hons November 3, 2015 at 9:37 pm

    My carrot cake often falls in the middle after removing it from the oven. I use a toothpick to test it. Any suggestions?

    1. Jeff Tiedeman November 4, 2015 at 8:54 am

      You probably need to bake it longer. Sometimes the toothpick test isn’t a true indicator of doneness.


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