Here’s one of my favorite desserts to make. It always gets an applause. This recipe will make a fairly sizable cake — it will serve 10 and it is a triple layer cake.
Although delicious, the original recipe was not particularly “heart-healthy” (if you know what I mean), as it is quite rich and the frosting contains an entire stick of butter. So, I have adapted the recipe slightly (with no negative effect on the results) by changing the vegetable oil to canola oil and replacing the full-fat cream cheese to the light neufchatel type. If you’re looking for additional adjustments, you can use 2 eggs plus 3 egg whites instead of the 4 eggs called for; you can also cut back on the oil by one-third. I don’t recommend using fat-free cream cheese, however, as it doesn’t provide the same results.
Here’s a short-cut that will cut the prep time down to about a third: Since grating carrots can be time-consuming, I usually peel them and shred them in the food processor. This also provides some additional contrast in textures, since the pieces of carrot will be slightly larger than what you would get from grating them. Also, remember to “drain” the water out of the carrots by placing them on a paper towel before you put them into the batter.
Finally, I usually make about 1/3 more frosting than what is called for, in order to ensure that the entire cake is frosted.
The two photos are mine.
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 cups canola oil
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3 cups finely grated peeled carrots (about 1 pound)
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans (about 1/2 ounce)
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 2 8-ounce packages light cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 4 teaspoons vanilla extract (I love vanilla, so I end up being generous here)
Preheat oven to 325°F. Very lightly grease three 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Line the bottom of pans with waxed paper. Lightly grease the waxed paper. Using an electric mixer, beat sugar and oil in bowl until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg into the bowl. Stir in the carrots, chopped pecans and raisins.
Pour the batter into the prepared pans equally. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean and the cakes begin to slightly pull away from the sides of pans. Cool in pans on racks 15 minutes. Turn the cakes onto racks and cool completely.
The cake can be made one day ahead. Wrap it tightly in plastic and store at room temperature.
For the frosting, beat all of the ingredients in a bowl until smooth and creamy.
Place a cake layer on a platter. Spread with 3/4 cup frosting. Top with another cake layer. Spread with 3/4 cup frosting. Top with remaining cake layer. Using a spatula, spread the remaining frosting over the sides and top of cake. The frosting can be prepared 2 days ahead.
Serve cake cold or at room temperature.