Recipes Online: Carrot Cake with Vanilla Buttercream

Carrot Cake with Vanilla Buttercream

Carrot Cake with Vanilla Buttercream

For the Cake:
2 large eggs;
1 cup packed light brown sugar;
3/4 cup canola oil;
3 tablespoons nonfat buttermilk;
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract;
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour;
1/2 teaspoon baking powder;
1/2 teaspoon baking soda;
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt;
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon;
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger;
2 cups tightly packed shredded carrots;
3/4 cup raisins;
1/2 chopped walnuts (optional: toast briefly in a dry pan).

For the Frosting:
1 x 12 ounce container of full fat plain cream cheese, softened to room temperature;
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter;
2 cups confectioners sugar;
2 tablespoons milk, cream or half and half;
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract.


Position a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat two 8-inch round pans with butter, and then cover that with a thin layer of flour. Turn of and tap gently to release excess flour. Set both pans aside.
In a stand mixer fitted with a whip attachment, beat together the eggs and brown sugar on medium-high speed for 4 minutes, until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, buttermilk and vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly pour the oil mixture into the egg/sugar mixture in a thin stream. This should take 30 seconds to a minute.
In a clean bowl, sift or whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and optional ginger). Turn off the mixer and use a rubber spatula to gently fold the flour mixture into the wet mixture. Use the same technique to fold in the carrots, raisins and walnuts. When all ingredients are completely combined. Pour half of the batter into each pan and put them into the oven.
Now here's where it gets a bit tricky: the original recipe says to bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Perhaps my oven was way overheated for some reason, but my cakes were done after 25 minutes. So, check your cake after 20 minutes and every 10 to 15 minutes after that. Remove from the oven when a knife or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
While the cake is baking, make the frosting by whipping together the cream cheese and butter until smooth, then adding the sugar gradually, one half-cup at a time. Add the vanilla and milk (or cream, or half & half) and continue to whip until light and fluffy. If the frosting is too thick for your liking, add an additional Tablespoon of milk to thin it out slightly.
Cool in the pans for about an hour. Then slide a knife around the edges to loosen and remove from the pan. Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

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