Thursday is my brother’s birthday – he’s turning 9! I am at a loss as to what to get him. I mean, when I was 9, I wanted a barbie. What do kids want these days anyway?
October to December is always a super busy time for me as far as birthdays go. It also means that I end up making a lot of carrot cake. It’s my dad’s favorite cake, my mom’s favorite cake…
The last time I made carrot cake before my dad’s birthday, which was 2 weeks ago, was for Ex-Boyfriend’s birthday in July.
I ended up grating my finger. But honestly, I loved him so much, I didn’t care, as long as I could make a beautiful cake for him! Blood, tears, sweat… man I sacrificed way too much for that relationship…
Smittenkitchen is pretty much my go to as far as food blogs go. This recipe is made for carrot cake cupcakes and a maple cream cheese frosting but can be adapted for a two layer cake (which is almost always what I make).
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (I always put in extra – no such thing as too much cinnamon)
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups canola oil
4 large eggs
3 cups grated peeled carrots
1 cups coarsely chopped walnuts (optional, but I suggest it because it adds great texture and contrast)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grate grate grate that carrot so you get a nice pile like this:
Butter and flour two 9 inch cake pans. Whisk the oil and sugar until well blended. Whisk the rest of the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add one egg at a time to the oil and sugar mixture, and continue whisking. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until well blended. Finally, fold in the carrots and walnuts.
And bake for around 40 minutes. My oven tends to run cold so I usually leave it in for an extra 3-4 minutes. But make sure it doesn’t dry out! Because carrot cakes are supposed to be moist. After 40 minutes take them out and let them cool COMPLETELY (I made the mistake once of not letting them cool all the way because I was in a rush and the cake just fell apart… it was not pretty. Kind of like me these days (oh post break-up angst)).
I like to use a simple cream cheese frosting and I do mean, it’s very simple. I got it from my friend Lauren (who is just the most darling, driven and intelligent girl – also getting married in August!). My brother likes to call it “Lauren’s special recipe”.
Lauren’s Special Frosting
2 sticks of butter
1 lb of cream cheese (softened)
1 tsp vanilla
4 cups confectioner’s sugar
Cream butter and then add cream cheese. Cream the two together until well blended. Add vanilla. Slowly, add one cup of confectioner’s sugar at a time, making sure that it’s well mixed in before adding the next cup. Mix until light and fluffy.
Finally, I like to decorate with some chopped walnuts and coconut flakes. And voila! Best carrot cake in the world.