Thursday, July 22, 2010

My Mom's Carrot Cake

I'm going to be in trouble for this out my mom's carrot cake recipe. But it's too good not to share. Which is why the pictures in this post are from the ONE slice that survived long enough for me to take a picture of it. I freakin' love carrot cake, so I was very happy to make this for my friend's birthday (and to eat the leftover cream cheese frosting, too!). Here goes...

My Mom's Carrot Cake

  • 2 c. flour
  • 2 c. white sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 1/3 c. oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 c. shredded carrots
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3-4 c. powdered sugar

Whisk together flour, white sugar, baking soda, and cinnamon. Add eggs and oil, then mix until combined. Fold in shredded carrots. Divide batter evenly between two greased 9" cake pans, and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the layers cool, then level them (I remembered this time!).

Cream together butter and cream cheese. Stir in vanilla extract and 3-4 c. powdered sugar, or until frosting is spreadable and is at your desired level of sweetness. Frost the top of the first layer with cream cheese frosting, then stack on the second layer, and frost sides and top of cake with the cream cheese frosting. Dispose of any extra frosting as you see fit! ;)

A few notes about calories... So, I like to try to "healthify" desserts...the way I see it, that way, when I inevitably go back for seconds, I'll feel slightly less guilty.

I subbed 1 c. unsweetened applesauce for 1 c. of the oil in this cake. I usually sub all but 2 Tbl. of oil with applesauce in muffins, cakes, quick breads, etc. It tends to make the end result slightly denser, but moister, than using oil.

If a recipe calls for butter, I usually use a light margarine...the exception to this is frosting. I have found that it is absolutely essential to use full-fat versions of butter and cream cheese when making frosting. The reduced fat versions tend to have too high of a water content, and require obscene amounts of powdered sugar to thicken them up. By that point, you've not only negated any caloric savings gained by using light butter, but you've also added so much sugar, that the darn stuff tastes like sugar and nothing else. Additionally, for recipes that call to adding butter to melted chocolate (i.e. ganaches), it is absolutely essential to use real butter. Again, the high water content of the light margarine is the problem--it can cause your chocolate to seize (I found this out the hard way).

I also used sucralose in place of white sugar. I do this almost exclusively when baking. The only time I use real sugar is if it's something like candy where I'm nervous that the sucralose won't have the same chemical structure as sugar. The sucralose is usually made to substitute in a 1:1 ration with white sugar, so it's easy to use.

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