Everyone always seem to think of carrot cake as being healthy. It’s the nice little illusion those carrots give. Veggies in your dessert! Can you even call it a dessert? No, better off calling it a side! If only. This is one of the more unhealthy cakes that I make (why hello, 2 cups of sugar and 4 eggs and we haven’t even gotten to the frosting!). I try to lighten it up by replacing some of the oil with apple sauce, but really, I think it’s in vain. Oh well. It does still have carrots in it so, think of all the beta carotene you’re getting. Huzzah!
I haven’t made this cake in a few years, partially because the last time I made it, I made such a mess. It took forever to grate all the carrots and I somehow managed to get bits of carrot all over the kitchen. This time I was so excited to get out the food processor. Let the machine do it!! I was less excited when I thought of all the little pieces I’d have to wash (I love my food processor, but I hate washing it!), but decided it was still worth it. I loved it. Shove the carrot down the shoot and out come perfect grated carrots on the other end! Marvelous. On to the fun stuff.
So, I know many people don’t think that it doesn’t really qualify as a carrot cake unless you put raisins in it. I personally happen to hate raisins in most things (cinnamon raisin bagels and oatmeal cookies being the main exceptions, and even then, I’m not a huge fan) so I never put raisins in my carrot cake. The coworker who I made this cake for is even more opposed to raisins in carrot cake than I am, so luckily I had no dilemma there.
Despite not exactly being the veggie side dish you wish it were, it’s a pretty delicious, moist cake and there’s only one person in the world that I know that doesn’t love cream cheese frosting (in fact, she hates it, but that’s just further proof that my sister is just wrong ;)). The cake was devoured at work, but I did manage to save a small piece for Joseph who had helped me maintain my sanity the night before by measuring ingredients and helping with dishes.
Adapted from Tammy Elliot on Allrecipes.com
If you are in the Pro Raisins Camp, add a cup of raisins. Either camp can also choose to add a cup of pecans if desired. Add them at the end when you add the carrots.
I made it in a 9×13 pan to make it nice and easy, not to mention more portable and easier to cut into many smaller pieces for lots of people. If you want to make a layer cake, just use a conversion chart.
3/4 cup oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 t vanilla
2 cups flour
2 t baking soda
2 t baking powder
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 t salt
2 t cinnamon*
1/2 t nutmeg
3 cups grated carrots (4-5 carrots)
1/2 cup butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
4 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 t vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease 9×13 inch pan.
- Beat together eggs, oil, applesauce, white and brown sugar, and vanilla in large bowl.
- Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg in a medium bowl.
- Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture making sure to not overmix. Add the carrots and pour into the prepared pan.
- Cook for 40-50 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.**
- To make the frosting – In a medium bowl, beat softened cream cheese, butter, confectioners sugar, and vanilla until smooth and creamy. I tried to do this by hand (always trying to reduce dishes to wash!) but gave up and grabbed my hand blender which made it so much easier. Spread over completely cooled cake.
* I’m a big fan of baking spices and always add a bit extra cinnamon whatever the recipe
** Always check early! My oven runs hot and was done after 36 minutes. Dried out cakes make me so sad!