This is a recipe for Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting inspired by Alton Brown. I say inspired because I made a lot of changes, especially to his method. Who uses a food processor to mix a cake? I don’t even have a food processor large enough. Besides, I like to use a hand mixer. Call me old-fashioned but part of the fun of baking a cake is seeing and feeling the batter come together beneath your hands.
I had my heart set on golden raisins. Don’t you hate when you think you bought something only to discover in the middle of a recipe you didn’t? I came up empty-handed even after a thorough pantry search. But they would really add a little something extra to the cake. I missed them in the final product.
I baked this for my Dad’s birthday. He loved it. I didn’t. I didn’t hate it. I just didn’t love it. And I wanted to love it. I like a dense, moist cake and this had a lighter, dryer texture. It may be because I split up the batter to make a layer cake whereas Alton makes one big cake. Or maybe I overcooked it…if that’s the case then I’m totally at fault. That was my only complaint so it wasn’t a total fail. Otherwise it’s nicely spiced with a distinct carrot flavor. And off course the cream cheese frosting with walnuts is a total save…making the cake slightly irresistible.
I also substituted ginger for allspice and amped up the yogurt/sour cream. Because ginger loves carrots.
(Inspired by Alton Brown)
2 + 1/2 cups All-purpose Flour, plus extra for pan
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon Ginger
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 + 1/2 cups Carrots, about 5 medium, grated
1 + 1/4 cups Sugar
1/3 cup packed Brown Sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup non-fat Greek Yogurt or Sour Cream (not non-fat)
3/4 cup Vegetable oil
3/4 cup Golden raisins, chopped, optional
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour 2 8-inch round cake pans.
2. To a large mixing bowl add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt, whisk until well combined. Add the carrots and toss well. Set aside.
4. Divide evenly into prepared pans and bake 32-36 minutes until a toothpick in center comes out clean. Cool pans on wire racks for 15 minutes and then turn out cakes onto racks and cool completely before frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces Cream Cheese, at room temperature
4 tablespoons Butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
3-4 cups Confectioners’ Sugar
1 cup Chopped Walnuts, optional*
In a medium mixing bowl beat (on low-medium speed) the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until light and fluffy. Add confectioners’ sugar a cup at a time until the frosting reaches the right consistency. Beat on low until fluffy 3-4 minutes. Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes before frosting cake.
*Immediately after frosting pat the walnuts on by placing them in the palm of your hand, working on one small area at a time and working your way around the cake.
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