I made a carrot cake yesterday. It is basically a cross between Ina Garten’s recipe and David Lebovitz’s recipe. I brought it to school, and some of the teachers asked for the recipe, and anyone who ate it said it was amazing.
ingredients for the cake (basically from Ina Garten)
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar (Ina uses 2 cups)
- scant 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil (Ina uses 1 1/3 cups but this cake is moist enough without the extra oil. I used corn oil, but canola would be fine too)
- 3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature (if cold from fridge, place in bowl of warm water for a few minutes)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups unbleached flour (you do not need to sift it)
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder (not in Ina’s recipe)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 cup chopped walnuts (I use, but optional)
- 1 cup raisins (I did not use)
- 1 pound carrots, grated (I use organic, I peel them, and then grate them in the food processor using the grater attachment)
- 1 8 oz. can Dole crushed pineapple in natural juice, which I lightly drain pretty well (Ina uses 1/2 cup diced fresh pineapple- which I would use, but the crushed in the can is perfectly fine)
ingredients for cream cheese frosting (this is basically from David Lebovitz):
2- 8 oz. packages of regular Philadelphia cream cheese at room temperature
1 – 4 oz stick of salted butter (he uses unsalted)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (he says a few drops)
about 3 3/4 cups of sifted confectioners sugar (sift first, then measure) (he says 2 to 3cups)
***updated icing (March 2016)- oh my gosh this is amazing and I like it better than my original above) This has no nuts in the icing!
- 1 stick salted butter (room temperature)
- 1 8oz. package Philadelphia (full fat) cream cheese (room temperature)
- about 2 1/2 – 3 cups confectioners sugar (I didn’t sift as it seemed very fresh and lump free.)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
directions for the cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 by 13 pan with butter. I use the rectangular pan because it’s so easy, but you could make this as a layer cake as well (which Ina does).
Place dry ingredients- flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl and mix with rubber spatula- just to blend everything together.
Beat sugar, oil, and eggs in large mixing bowl of electric mixer with paddle attachment till it becomes light and a little fluffy. Then add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed just till blended. Add crushed pineapple and nuts and mix a few seconds till blended in. Add carrots, and fold in by hand. Pour all into greased pan.
Bake about 50-60 min. till toothpick comes out clean and sides of cake are separated from the pan. Cool on wire rack.
Frost when totally cool. I like to put the cake in the fridge after it’s cool and get it really cold before I frost it because if the cake is still slightly warm when you frost it, the frosting starts to melt into the cake.
directions for the frosting:
When cream cheese and butter are totally at room temp (this will prevent lumps in the frosting), put them in large bowl of mixer with the wire whisk attachment if you have it- otherwise use the regular beaters or paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed till light and fluffy. On very low speed add the sifted confectioners sugar and salt. Gradually raise the speed and blend until lump-free. Add the heavy cream and vanilla and mix till light and fluffy.
Use a rubber spatula to frost the cake. Even though this makes a ton of icing, I use it all. You will have a nice thick layer of icing on the cake, but that’s what makes the cake.
I have eliminated the nuts in the cake and used them in the icing. That’s really good, too.