My friend, Jennifer, shared her family's favorite carrot cake recipe with me, complete with photos. Since February 3rd is National Carrot Cake Day, I thought today would be the perfect day to post her recipe on the blog. So, here it is, in her own words on how her traditional, tempting, fruity, rich and spicy carrot cake came to be. Enjoy!
P.S. ~ Here is another post that I've done sharing more baked goodies that are coming out of Jennifer's Kitchen. Come on over and take a peak!
My adapted carrot cake recipe is below. Mind you, I like a spicier carrot cake, so some people might like to dial the spices back a little when making it. I actually use this as my minimum spice ratio and go a little generous on a few when I make it. Careful with the cloves as they can over power things.
I called it "Little Treasures" because that's what my kids say when they eat it. "Hmmm, just had a golden raisin, found some pineapple...."
Jen's 'Little Treasures' Carrot Cake
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp ginger
1 1/2 cups white sugar (1/2 brown, 1/2 white)
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil (substitutions for oil can be buttermilk or applesauce, but keep some oil)
3 - 3 1/2 cups carrots, grated
8oz or 16 oz canned crushed pineapple, drained (If I use the 16 oz crushed/drained pineapple, I only use 1 cup of sugar.)
1/2 cup shredded coconut ( I tend to add a little more since I like coconut)
1 cup chopped nuts (your choice: standard fare in a carrot cake is walnuts since they're not sweet. But, I cut back on the sugar and use pecans since I like how they taste more than walnuts)
1/2 - 1 cup golden raisins, chopped
1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 pan.
2. Mix dry ingredients together: flour, baking powder, soda, salt, spices. Set aside.
3. In a larger bowl, beat together eggs, sugar, and vanilla.Stir in oil and now it should look like pudding.
4. Slowly stir in dry ingredients, then carrots. Then add in pineapple, nuts, raisins and coconut. Pour into prepared pan.
5. Bake for approx. 45-50 minutes. Each oven is different so start checking at 40 minutes. Toothpick or knife test works well with this cake. Occasionally it takes 60 min. So definitely test.
Note: Feel free to omit the coconut, nuts or raisins as your taste buds desire. But if you lower the amount of pineapple, consider adding another moisturizer in it's place.
Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
1 8 oz package cream cheese
1/2 c softened butter
3-4 c powdered sugar (sometimes I cut this back a cup for a less sweet frosting)
2 tsp vanilla
1 c toasted coconut
2 tbsp cream (to thin frosting for spreadability)
1/2 tsp coconut flavoring (totally optional)
1. Beat cream cheese and butter together until light and fluffy. Scrape walls of bowl to truly incorporate together.
2. Gradually add confectioner's sugar, alternating with drops of cream.
3. Beat in 1/2 tsp coconut flavoring if desired and vanilla.
4. Add more confectioner's sugar if need to thicken. (Taste as well. I find people vary a lot here. Some like a sweeter cake and less sweet frosting. Others the opposite.)
5. All that is done left is to build your cake. Frost the top of your bottom layer. Add the top cake layer and spread a thin layer of cream cheese frosting all over. It will get crumbly. That's OK. Then put the cake in the freezer for ~15 min. Take it out and spread with the rest of the white frosting and now you won't have to worry about crumbs in frosting. Then decorate as you wish.
Note: 1. Decorating: Traditionalists like nuts along the outside of the cake. I prefer toasted coconut. I've also done a mixture of both and that worked nicely as well. I've even lightly candied/spiced the walnuts and added that. This is your preference. (The carrot cake pictured is of toasted coconut.)