Debbie’s Delicious Carrot Cake

A heavenly-spiced, double-decker cake iced with cream cheese frosting.  Apple sauce makes it extra moist and delicious.   Makes 12 servings.

Photo: d. king

I’ve tried several carrot cake recipes including my mom’s (which included in the ingredients crushed pineapple and some mayo).  Sorry mom, it was always my favourite, however my carrot cake connoisseur boyfriend says this one knocks them all out of the park.  But we’ll let you be the judge. 

For the Cake:

1 ½ cups sugar (I always use organic cane sugar)

1 cup unsweetened apple sauce (if you have the time, making it yourself is best)

4 large eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

2 cups *flour

2 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

2 tsp. cinnamon

¼ tsp. nutmeg

¼ tsp. ground cloves

3 cups grated carrot

1 cup walnut or pecan pieces

1 cup raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Lightly grease and flour 2, 8-inch round cake pans.

To make doubly sure the cakes do not stick, cut 2 rounds of parchment  (I swear by parchment – it’s a baking life saver) the same size as the bottom of the pans and set them in.  Place the sugar, apple sauce, eggs and vanilla in a bowl and mix until well combined.  Mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices into another bowl, and then mix into the wet mixture until just combined.  Fold in carrots, nuts and raisins.  Divide and spoon the batter among the pans.  Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the centre of each cake pulls out clean.  Cool the cake on a baking rack in their pans for 30 minutes, then un mould and cool to room temperature.

To frost and decorate

250 gram pkg. hard cream cheese, at room temperature (I use Philadelphia)

1 cup butter, at room temperature

1 tsp. vanilla

3 cups icing sugar (I used organic icing sugar for the fist time and while still sugar; it made me feel better about eating it – it was also easier to beat ).

Place the cream cheese, butter and vanilla in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until quite light.  Gradually beat in the icing sugar until fully incorporated.  Set 1 cake layer, crowned-side down, on your cake stand.  Spread a ¼ inch layer of frosting on it, and then set on the second cake, crowned-side down.  Frost the top and sides of the cake, doing so as neatly and smoothly as you can (not so much for me this time).

If desired, after frosting, you could also coat the sides or top of the cake with unsweetened shreds of coconut and/or walnuts or pecans.

The Added Touch

You could also decorate the top of the cake with small carrots made of marzipan.  To do so, color 100 grams of marzipan orange with **food color.  Divide it into 12 pieces and roll each one into a carrot shape.  Use the back of a pairing knife and make a few shallow, indentations on one side of each piece to give it a slightly wrinkled carrot-like look.

Arrange the carrots on top of the cake.  As you can see, I omitted this extra special step this time around.  

*You can easily make this gluten-free by substituting regular flour for gluten-free.  This time I used “Namaste gluten-free Perfect Flour Blend” and it was divine.  Having said that, I have to admit that using regular cake & pastry flour makes for a perfect tasting allover cake. I was quite pleased though with this gluten-free flour blend.  Make sure you read the package to see how easily adaptable it is for baking – not all are created equal.

**Juicing carrots will provide you with a natural dye alternative that will emit NO additional flavor when used moderately. For a more saturated color, reduce the liquid into a syrup.  This will produce a more vivid color, without changing the properties of the dish.

Enjoy!

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