Sunday, July 01, 2007

Carrot Cake

I like my carrot cake both the Chinese version and the Western version. This week I got around to baking the Western carrot cake.
The carrot cake is one of those cakes that never seems to go out of style. This moist and dense textured cake is loaded with grated carrots, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and toasted nuts. A must for me is the tangy cream cheese frosting. I made my frosting with orange zest and juice.
I went out for brunch today as I had a friend who made a pit stop in Singapore but I got home in time to see my relatives and serve them the carrot cake. There isn't much left of the cake which is good.Recipe
1 cup (110 grams) pecans or walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
about 2 1/2 cups finely grated raw carrots
2 cups (280 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) brown sugar
1 cup (240 ml) safflower or canola oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
For a moister carrot cake, add 1/2 to 1 cup of crushed pineapple or applesauce to the batter when you add the vanilla extract. You may have to bake the cake a few minutes longer.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/4 cup (57 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
8 ounces (227 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups (230 grams) icing sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon (4 grams) pure vanilla extract
finely grated lemon zest of one lemon

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
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, with the paddle attachment, 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.

In bowl of electric mixer, with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter, on low speed, until very smooth 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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