Monday, March 28, 2011

Favorite Carrot Cake

Get geared up for Easter with this moist, dense carrot cake. It is a crowd pleaser for sure. Make sure to make a day or two ahead, as the more time it sits, the more moist it gets!

4 eggs
1 1/4 c oil
2 c white sugar
2 t vanilla extract
2 c flour
2 t baking soda
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
2 t ground cinnamon
3 c grated carrots (coarse side, not fine)
1 c chopped pecans (optional, I do not add these)

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/2 c butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
4 c powdered sugar
1 t vanilla extract
1/8-1/4 t ground cinnamon
dash of salt

~Grease and flour 9x13 pan or two 9" round cake pans.
~For cake: In large bowl beat together eggs, oil, white sugar, and vanilla. Mix in dry ingredients. Stir in carrots. Fold in pecans. Pour into prepared pan(s).
~Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes, depending on pans used (I think I did about 45 mins for 2 round cake pans), or until toothpick comes out clean.
~Let cool in pan(s) for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
~For frosting: Combine everything and beat well until smooth and creamy. Frost cake. For a simple yet pretty 2-layer cake, I simply divide frosting in half-put half in middle of cakes (be sure when putting them on cake stand or plate to flip each cake upside down so you have a nice flat surface to apply frosting to) and then apply other half of frosting to top. Don't even bother with the sides! With butter knife make a choppy design, and voila, simple as that. Keep chilled.
~If you want to dress this up a little bit, try making a few small carrots out of marzipan! Knead a little orange food coloring into marzipan, shape into carrot, make some very slight slits across carrot with a butter knife to make it look like the peels. You can even brush with a little brown food coloring wash here and there to make it look more real. Then for the stems, simply use a sprig or two of parsley and stick in top of carrot. This is really fun for kids to do-Gwen loved it!

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