I’ve made lots of carrot cakes over the years – tall-and-elegant layered wonders, as well as cupcakes with icing piped into the core. All were fine. All were welcomed by sweet-loving palates.
BUT, my favorite is the easy-to-prepare version made from the formula given to me by my sister-in-law Toni Brehm in the early 1970’s. It’s made in a 9-by-13-inch baking pan and goes together much more quickly than more complicated approaches.
“My” supermarket sells shredded carrots, an ingredient that usually takes time and effort (even if you use a food processor fitted with the grating disk – it’s still easier to just open a cellophane bag).
Make it a day ahead and refrigerate (put 4 toothpicks at the corners and cover with plastic wrap – the toothpicks will elevate the wrap so it doesn’t stick to the frosting). And save time if you wish by using pre-shredded carrots from the supermarket.
Easy Carrot Cake
Yield: 8 to 12 servings
Butter and flour for prepping pan
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans
2 cups shredded carrots, see cook’s notes
1 cup flaked and sweetened coconut
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained to include juice
Frosting: 1-pound box or bag of powdered sugar, 1 stick room temperature butter, 1 (8-ounce) package room temperature cream cheese (not reduced fat or whipped)
Cook’s notes: Of course, you can finely grate or shred carrots by hand or by using the grating disk in a food processor, but it is much, much easier to buy them already shredded and then coarsely chop them to eliminate long shreds. At my local market (Albertson’s) 10- ounce packages of shredded carrots are sold in the organic section. Edible carrot-cake decorations are available online or at Classic Cake in Westminster.
1. Butter and flour a 9-by-13-inch baking pan; invert and tap our excess flour. Adjust oven rack to middle position. Preheat to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, add flour, salt, cinnamon and baking soda; stir with a whisk to combine and set aside.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add sugar, oil and eggs. Mix using the paddle attachment on medium speed for 1 minute to combine. Add vanilla and mix until combined. Add pecans, carrots, coconut and pineapple with juice. Mix until completely combined on medium speed.
3. Pour into prepared pan, scraping sides of bowl with a silicone spatula to get all the batter. Even out the batter with spatula. Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely.
4. Prepare frosting: In a stand mixer or food processor, place powdered sugar, butter and cream cheese. If using a stand mixer, mix on low speed until mostly combined; beat on medium-high until creamy and smooth, adding a little cold water if needed to thin a little if too thick (if using processor, whirl until smooth adding a little water if it is too thick). Spread atop cooled cake. Refrigerate until serving time.
ENJOY! Send me a photo of your cake – I would love to see it. And thanks Aunt Toni. firstname.lastname@example.org