Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Cake Among Cakes


Hard to believe this recipe hasn't made it up here yet! Thanks to Claire, it's finally getting its place of honor.  I tried a lot of carrot cake recipes, and slowly evolved my own over time. This one, if I do say so myself, is perfect. We've been making it for a couple of decades now. It's a darn big cake, so it's a good recipe to use for a big birthday party or family gathering.


NICKI'S CARROT CAKE

Preheat oven to 325 degrees
Grease and flour 3  8" round cake pans

combine and set aside for 30 minutes or so:
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange peel (fresh orange zest is best, but dried peel can be used)

1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/3 cups vegetable oil (Wesson!)
4 eggs

sift together:
2 1/2 cups flour (I use King Arthur All Purpose flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg OR mace
pinch of ginger
pinch of cloves
pinch of allspice
1 1/4 teaspoons salt

2 1/2 cups grated carrots
3/4 cup shredded coconut
3/4 cup finely cut or chopped walnuts
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Beat together the sugars and oil until well blended. Add eggs, one at at time, beating well after each addition. SLOWLY  add sifted ingredients and beat well. Add soaked orange peel and any remaining juice, then the carrots, coconut, walnuts, and vanilla.  

Pour into the greased and floured pans, and stagger the pans on the same middle rack of a preheated 325 degree oven. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the center is not sticky. Remover from oven, cool 7 minutes (no more!) then remove from pans and finish cooling on a rack.


CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

one 8 ounce brick of cream cheese PLUS one 3 ounce brick of cream cheese
1 1/2 pounds (24 ounces) confectioners sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks butter (6 ounces), melted and room temp
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Beat the cream cheese bars together well, then add the confectioners sugar and salt slowly on very low speed. Gradually increase speed and combine well. Add the melted butter very slowly, incorporating the butter as you go, and then add the vanilla. Beat the frosting on high speed for several minutes until smooth and creamy, then spread between the cooled cake layers and on top and sides of cake. 

Makes a large 3 layer 8" cake, serving at least 12


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