Carrot Cake – Only the Best You’ll Ever Have (and Grandma’s recipe)

Posted by on Apr 13, 2012 in Desserts, featured-slider-post, Food Journal

Carrot Cake – Only the Best You’ll Ever Have (and Grandma’s recipe)

Carrot Cake - So, I’ve decided to make carrot cake for Easter. You know, Easter, bunnies, carrots, carrot cake – lol! This is another one of those great recipes that my Grandma passed down to me. I have added a few modifications, like I make mine whole wheat. Also, depending on my mood, I may add coconut, or Mandarin oranges or pineapple, or raisins, or different nuts. Like I said, it depends on my mood…… and what’s in the fridge or cabinet :D! This also happens to be one of Xavier’s (my husband’s) favorite cakes and my oldest daughter’s favorite as well.  So, I get to make it a few times a year – Yummy! But, Easter is my favorite occasion to make it for, I’m not sure why I get so silly and giddy about the whole bunny/carrot thing (what a nerd, I know, it’s cool though). So, anyway, this is a really fabulous recipe. One that I’ve loved since I can remember. Oh, here’s my funny (at least to me) carrot cake story. When I was a little girl I was super anti cream cheese (I’m not sure why, I think because I’d never actually tried it (that I knew of)). Well, my grandma of course makes the cream cheese icing with the carrot cake – a fact that I was unaware of. You understand this I’m sure because when you’re little you don’t question the frosting, you’re just happy to be eating the frosting. So, anyway,  my Mom took me out to a bagel shop one day. This was super exciting because it was new to me that bagel shops even existed. When we got to the front and it was our turn to put in our order, my Mom asked me what kind of cream cheese I’d like on my bagel. “Ewwww, no cream cheese, thank you!” To which my Mother responded. “That’s the best part.” I couldn’t believe she had made such a bold statement! “Well, I don’t like it” I answered back. “It’s what Grandma makes her carrot cake frosting with.” “Hhhhhh” I gasped, surely my beloved Grandma wouldn’t have tricked me like this. So, to prove my mother wrong, I agreed to try a tiny, teensy, weensy, taste of the cinnamon raisin flavored cream cheese. Upon tasting it, my eyes welled up with tears – my Grandma had been lying to me all this time. My poor mother was like “what’s wrong, are you OK?”. I managed to sob out that Grandma had lied to me about her frosting. I’m sure my Mom had to suppress a chuckle as she explained that Grandma didn’t lie, I just never asked. Kids are so cute sometimes – yes I was too. I hope you love this recipe (including the cream cheese frosting) as much as my family and I! Oh yeah, I’m putting Grandma’s version first and then my sort of healthier version. Happy Cooking!

Ingredients for Grandma’s version

4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

dry ingredients
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 cups carrots, shredded
1/2 cup nuts (I use pecans)

Instructions
1. Prepare two 8″ round cake pans by spraying with cooking spray and lining the bottoms with parchment (or wax) paper, make sure to line the bottom or your cake will stick.
2. Pre-heat your oven to 350°F.
3. Combine dry ingredients into a small mixing bowl and stir to combine.
4. Put eggs into a large mixing bowl and beat them.
5. Add the sugar, oil and vanilla into the eggs and stir with a rubber spatula.
6. Add the dry ingredients into the egg mixture 1/2 at a time and make sure you stir it up really good in between additions (scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with your rubber spatula too).
7. Stir in the carrots and the nuts.
8. Divide the batter between the two cake pans.
9. Bake at 350°F for 40 minutes to and hour.
10. It’s done when a toothpick comes out clean – DO NOT OVER BAKE! Mine usually takes about 40 minutes, Grandma says hers takes around 50 – however, she lives in Florida and I live in Arizona so I guess that makes a difference.

And now, my healthier version – I don’t change the frosting, it’s too delicious :D

Ingredients
5 eggs
1 cup canola oil Grandma's Carrot Cake
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup Splenda
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

dry ingredients
1 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 cups carrots
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup raisins
And as options you can also add any one of these – In fact, you can add all three of them if you want.
1/2 cup fresh pineapple, chopped pretty small, drain it if it’s really juicy
or
1/2 cup Mandarin oranges, drained
or
1 cup coconut


Instructions
1. Prepare 2 (8 inch) round cake pans by spraying with cooking spray and lining the bottoms with parchment (or wax) paper, make sure to line the bottom or your cake will stick.
2. Pre-heat your oven to 350°F.
3. Combine dry ingredients into a small mixing bowl and stir to combine.
4. Put eggs into a large mixing bowl and beat them.
5. Add the Splenda, sugar, oils and vanilla paste into the eggs and stir with a rubber spatula.
6. Add the dry ingredients into the egg mixture 1/2 at a time and make sure you stir it up really good in between additions (scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with your rubber spatula too).
7. Stir in the carrots, nuts, and the raisins (and anything else you’re adding).
8. Divide the batter between the two cake pans.
9. Bake at 350°F for 45 minutes to and hour.
10. It’s done when a toothpick comes out clean – DO NOT OVER BAKE!

OK, now for the frosting! 

Ingredients
*see note for measurements if your doing the additional decorating
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick of butter, at room temperature
16 ounces powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (I use vanilla bean paste)

Instructions
1. Cream the butter and the cream cheese together, scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.
2. Add the vanilla and mix until combined.
3. Add the powdered sugar 1/3 at a time and mix between additions until completely blended – also, scrape your bowl between additions.

*note – If you’re doing the additional decorating, you need more frosting, so follow these measurements.
12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 sticks of butter, room temperature
24 ounces powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla (I use vanilla bean paste)

Follow the same instructions as above. I’ll show you how to frost the cake and do a basket weave on the cake in my video :D!

Please enjoy this how to video!


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