Friday, April 3, 2015

single layer carrot cake.

Can we talk about carrot cake for a second?

We served carrot cake at our wedding and while it was superbly moist, flavorful, and perfect for a somewhat classy event, it lacked that add-in's that I deem necessary. Sure the cream cheese frosting was divine (then again when is cream cheese frosting not divine?) but what I really wanted was a cake studded with chunks of walnuts, raisins, pineapple and a plethora of shredded carrots.  

I wanted something hefty and filling. Something that read a little bit like health-food but we all know isn't health-food.  I wanted a single layer cake that could be made on a Wednesday evening just because it's April and the daily high is finally above 50 degrees.  I wanted a week-day cake that felt like a celebration.   

And without further ado - HERE IT IS!

This is how I like my carrot cake. Coconut oil (which works brilliantly with carrots and pineapple) serves as the base for a cake that contains 2 types of flour (whole wheat being one of them), a healthy dose of spices (cinnamon and ginger) and more add-ins then should be allowed. It's hefty but not heavy which is why I love it so.  Sure you could eat it with just a dusting of powdered sugar but if we are making this a celebration cake, I strongly encourage you to go with the cream cheese frosting. Cream cheese frosting is a party.   

Single Layer Carrot Cake
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten

Made a couple of changes - dialed back the sugar by a decent amount.  I feel you could dial it back to 2/3 of a cup but the choice is yours.  Swapped vegetable oil for coconut oil since coconut oil is the cool new healthy oil and added in an extra punch of spice flavor with the ginger since I think you can can never have too much spice. The resulting cake tastes like the traditional carrot cake just slightly modernized which is exactly how I like things.   

For the cake

¾ cup granulated sugar (see note above)
½ cup + 3 tablespoons coconut oil or vegetable oil
2 large eggs, at room temperature
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
½ cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoons baking soda
¾ teaspoons kosher salt
½ cup raisins
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ pound carrots, grated
1/3 cup diced fresh pineapple

For the frosting

4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter 1 (8-inch) round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pan.

For the cake: Beat the sugar, oil, and eggs together in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light yellow. Add the vanilla. In another bowl, sift together the ¾ cup all-purpose flour, ½ cup whole wheat flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, and salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Toss the raisins and walnuts with 1 tablespoon flour. Fold in the carrots and pineapple. Add to the batter and mix well (batter will be very thick).

Pour the batter in the pan. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool completely in the pans set over a wire rack.

For the frosting: Mix the cream cheese, butter and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until just combined. Add the sugar and salt and mix until smooth.

Place the cake flat-side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting.

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