Hannah recently admitted that the reason carrot cake is her favorite cake is almost entirely due to the cream cheese frosting. Really, it is just a vehicle for cream cheese, much the way coffee is a vehicle for cream to me. So when she requested carrot cake for her birthday dinner last month, I decided to forego my more complicated carrot cake recipe for this decidedly simple one. I made it three layers to maximize the amount of frosting and I decorated the top to make it look fancier than it actually was. It was a big hit, so I think this is the recipe I am sticking with moving forward.
If you don’t want to mess with the lattice top (I used orange marmalade and ground toasted walnuts to create the decorative checkerboard) then just frost the top layer as you normally would.
This recipe come from Alton Brown, a really interesting food personality on Food Network whose recipes are often too scientific and technical for my liking. But this one looked uncharacteristically straightforward and turned out to be exactly what I needed on a day when I was making a bunch of Hannah’s other favorite dishes too for her birthday dinner.
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
6 medium carrots, grated
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups sugar
¼ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
3 large eggs
6 ounces plain yogurt
6 ounces vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter and flour 3 8-inch round cake pans. Set aside.
Put the carrots into a large mixing bowl and set aside.
Put the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt in the bowl of a food processor and process for 5 seconds. Add this mixture to the carrots and toss until they are well coated with the flour.
In the bowl of the food processor combine the sugar, brown sugar, eggs and yogurt.
With the processor still running drizzle in the vegetable oul. Pour this mixture intot eh carrot mixture and stir until just combined. Pour into the prepared pans and bake on the middle rack for 35-40 minutes. Cool completely.
Cream Cheese Frosting:
(I did an extra half of this recipe to ensure I had enough frosting!)
16 ounces cream cheese
2 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
In the bowl of a stand mixture with paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese and butter on medium just until blended. Add the vanilla and beat until combine. With the speed on low, add the powdered sugar in 4 batches and beat until smooth between each addition.
Place the frosting in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes before using.
After cake is frosted, place cake in the fridge as well but take out about 20 minutes before serving.