Buttery Carrot Cake and Cream Cheese Frosting
May 31, 2012
I fell in love with carrot cake, when I fell in love with my husband. For years I had an exclusive (some would say dependent) relationship with chocolate. Given a choice of ice cream, cake, cookies, snacks, drinks (you get the picture), I would almost always sway towards the chocolate offering. So you can imagine the shock and ensuing protest when he suggested we serve carrot cake at our wedding. I still do not know how he convinced me, but I did give up the vision of rich chocolate cake with richer, thicker chocolate frosting willingly agreed to carrot cake. One of our marriage’s first big compromises.
Key to our agreement was that we found an absolutely fantastic bakery, The Buttery in Santa Cruz, that baked up the most luscious carrot cake imaginable. This was 10 years ago and I still remember how delicious it was! This recipe is NOT from The Buttery, I adapted it from one clipped from a newspaper years ago, but it is the next best thing. It includes the absolutely key ingredient BUTTER! Flip through a pile of carrot cake recipes and you will see how rare this ingredient is. Almost all of the carrot cake recipes in my collection call for vegetable oil, which makes a nice moist cake, but fails to deliver the distinctive buttery note that reminds me that chocolate (while a delicious intoxicant) is not the only way to celebrate an occasion. The cream cheese frosting is super creamy and just sweet and tangy enough to add a nice counterpoint to the rich cake.
This particular cake I whipped up for a very special person to celebrate her 65th birthday. Which brings me to another reason to love carrot cake… there is no need to wait for a birthday or wedding. Carrot cake is fancy enough to hold its own on these occasions, but simple enough for an afternoon snack. Really, it is full of carrots and nuts and raisins; it is practically health food!
Buttery Carrot Cake
2 ½ cups white flour, plus some for the pan
2 ½ teaspoons baking soda
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
2 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
1 ¼ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups melted butter, plus some for the pan
2 ½ cups sugar
5 large eggs, room temperature
1 ¼ teaspoons vanilla extract
3 ¾ cups peeled, grated carrot (scant 2 pounds before peeling)
1 ¼ cups finely chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
½ cup raisins (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Liberally butter and flour, two 10- inch round cake pans.
Sift together the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt).
In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together, then beat in the eggs until creamy. Mix in the vanilla Beat mixed dry ingredients into wet mixture, then mix in the remaining ingredients.
Fill prepared pans with batter and bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes- until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool on a rack for 15 to 20 minutes, then turn out to cool completely before frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
12 ounces cream cheese at room temp (let it sit out overnight or for many hours)
4 ½ ounces butter at room temp
3 cups powdered sugar
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
Beat together the cream cheese and butter until totally smooth. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat all together until well blended. Spread on cold cake.
Print this recipe: Buttery Carrot Cake
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