Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

I made my first ever carrot cake for Thanksgiving. It baked up moist, tender, and tasting of fall spices. The cream cheese frosting added a final divine touch. Lots of frosting, too. I increased the original recipe to make sure I had plenty (increase reflected in recipe below).

I loved the cake.

Either most everyone else did not, or there were so many other desserts that their bellies were bursting and didn’t have room for the carrot cake. I like to think it was the bellies-bursting reason. Plus, we had lots of kids as part of the holiday celebration, and as a kid, I wasn’t fond of anything that wasn’t chocolate cake or chocolate chip cookies.

Sometimes cake layers act persnickety and don’t want to fall out of the cake pan in one piece. Never fear, for if that happens, the solution is to turn your layered cake into a layered trifle instead. To see how that looks, head on over to Brown-Eyed Baker to see how she handled a potential baking disaster and turned it into success.

Or, to prevent the cakes from sticking to the pans, grease the pans well (I love Wilton’s Cake Release product, which I buy at Micheals). Even consider lining the bottom with parchment paper cut to fit the pan.

A few other useful tools and sites to check out for frosting layered cakes: a cake spatula and a rotating cake stand and Zoe Bakes for tutorials on how to frost cakes.

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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INGREDIENTS

Cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. ground allspice
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 cups grated carrots
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup shredded coconut, sweetened or unsweetened (I omitted this)
  • 1/2 cup raisins (I omitted this)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 4 eggs

Frosting

  • 12 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 lbs. (5 to 5 1/4 cups) powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

  1. Position the racks in the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour three 9×2-inch round cake pans. Put two pans on one baking sheet and one on another.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, and salt.
  3. In another bowl, stir together carrots, chopped nuts, coconut, and raisins.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the sugar and oil together on medium speed until smooth.
  5. Add the eggs one by one, and continue to beat until the batter is even smoother.
  6. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture, mixing only until the dry ingredients disappear.
  7. Gently mix in the chunky ingredients.
  8. Divide the batter among the three baking pans. Bake for 40-50 minutes, rotating pans from top to bottom and front to bak at the midway point, until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean (the cakes will have just started to come away from the sides of the pans).
  9. Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes and unmold them. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up. (The cakes can be wrapped airtight and kept at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to two months.)
  10. To make the frosting: Beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth and creamy.
  11. Gradually add the powdered sugar and continue to beat until the frosting is velvety smooth.
  12. Beat in the vanilla extract until well-combined.
  13. To assemble, stack the layers, spreading a generous amount of frosting between layers, followed by covering the top and sides. Garnish and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving. You can garnish with chopped walnuts, or you can save some frosting to color orange and green and pipe carrots on top of the cake.

SOURCE: Brown-Eyed Baker who adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

Zucchini & Carrot Slaw with Asian Dressing

After trying several zucchini slaw recipes, this version ended up my favorite. I love the flavor of the dressing. It comes across with a slightly nutty, earthy taste balanced by the saltiness of the soy sauce and with a bit of spice from the hot sauce–lots of layers of flavor to dress up the zucchini and carrots.

I actually used a mix of yellow squash and green zucchini because that is what our garden produced. However, I thought the rainbow of colors from the orange carrots, yellow squash, and green zucchini produced a very festive presentation. You can even add radishes for a touch of red color.

The dressing can be made a day or two ahead of time. I even saved the undressed and unused shredded veggies for more yummy slaw the following day, so perhaps even that can be prepared ahead of time.

Overall, very easy and very tasty recipe.

Zucchini & Carrot Slaw with Asian Dressing

Serves 4

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INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbsp. cider vinegar (I used white vinegar)
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 3 drops hot sauce (chile sauce, Srihacha, Tabasco…any will suffice)
  • 1 large zucchini (8 oz.), shredded (can also use yellow squash)
  • 4 carrots (8 oz.), shredded
  • toasted sesame seeds for garnish

DIRECTIONS

  1. Dressing: Combine vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and hot sauce. Mix well.
  2. Shred zucchini and carrots with grater, either by hand or using food processor.
  3. Toss grated veggies with dressing.
  4. Sprinkle with sesame seeds for garnish.

SOURCE: adapted from cooks.com

Interested in more zucchini recipes? Check these out:

Zucchini Fries

Zucchini Melt

Stuffed Zucchini in Tomato Sauce

Grilled Zucchini Greek Salad