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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

CARROT CAKE


Ever since I had the best carrot cake of my life at the Metropolitan Grill in Seattle, I've been searching for a recipe that comes anywhere near that little piece of heaven. While not perfect, this one comes close, and definitely hit the spot. 

For the cake, you will need:

2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups grated carrots (you can grate the carrots in a food processor fitted with a shredding blade)
1 cup coarsely chopped walnut or pecans (I used pecans)
1 cup shredded coconut, sweetened or unsweeted (I used sweetened)
1/2 cup moist, plump raisins (dark or golden) or dried cranberries (I used dark raisins)
2 cups sugar
1 cuup canola or safflower oil (I used vegetable, and it turned out fine)
4 large eggs (at room temperature)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour three 9-inch round, 2-inch deep cake pans, flour the insides and tap out the excess. (I used two cake pans and they were definitely a bit full, but worked out fine.)

Whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and set aside. In another bowl, stir together the carrots, chopped nuts, coconut, and raisins.

In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar and oil together until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time and continue to beat until the batter is completely smooth.  Reduce the speed to low and gently stir in the flour mixture, mixing only until the dry ingredients disappear. Gently, stir in the chunky ingredients.

Divide the batter among the baking pans and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, rotating the pans if needed halfway through (depending on your oven to ensure cakes bake evenly). The cakes are properly baked when a knife inserted into the centers of the cakes come out clean. The cakes will just start to come away from the edges. Transfer the pans to cooling racks, cool for 5 minutes, then turn out onto racks to cool to room temperature. (At this point, the cakes can be wrapped airtight and kept at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to 2 months; thaw before frosting.)

For the frosting, you will need:

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 pound (3 3/4 cups) confectioners
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (or 1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract)
1/2 cup shredded coconut (optional)
Toasted finely chopped nuts/toasted coconut, for topping (optional)

In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until the frosting is velvety smooth. Beat in the lemon juice or extract.

If you'd like to have coconut in the filling, scoop out about 1/2 of the frosting and stir the coconut into this portion.

Once the cake is frosted, put in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to set the frosting.

For storing: The covered cake will keep at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. It can also be frozen, uncovered, and then, when it is firmed, wrapped airtight and kept in the freezer for up to 2 months; defrost, still wrapped, in the refrigerator overnight.

Also, on my dream wish list: this cake stand.

Recipe found here.

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