Thursday, February 17, 2011

Moist Sweet Carrot Cake

Carrot cake is a big favorite with my family and clients and one of the easiest of cakes to make. I think every family probably has their own well-loved recipe handed-down among generations. It is such a classic. My recipe came from my mother who once judged baked goods at the Oregon State Fair. This carrot cake was one of the blue ribbon winners. I have always used it and it always gets rave reviews.


No matter what kind of cake or dessert I am making I always start by lining the baking pan with parchment paper. Removing the cake after cooling is completely trouble free with parchment paper.
I butter the sides of the pan or I use a baking spray. I never flour coat the pan. That's just me. I don't like how flour dries out the edges of the cakes. The absence of flour doesn't affect the removal of the cake.



For two 9" round layers or one 9" x 13" pan or one bundt cake pan start by mixing two cups of sugar, one cup of oil and three whole eggs.


Next mix in the good stuff:

one cup of drained crushed pineapple....



...and two cups of grated carrot. I use my food processor to chop the carrots into tiny bits.



Add one teaspoon of vanilla and beat on low to mix well.

Next add two and a half cups of all purpose flour, one teaspoon of baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and one teaspoon of cinnamon. Beat until the flour is absorbed, scraping the bowl as necessary.

One cup of chopped nuts is an optional addition to the cake. Walnut or pecans are divine!



Pour the batter into the prepared pans.


Let me share a baker's trick with a fuzzy out-of-focus photo:
Wrap the outside of the baking pan with strips of wet cloth- I use terry cloth towel strips or cotton sheet strips about three inches wide. (These are browned from many uses in the oven.) These damp baking strips will even out the baking of the cake so that a dome doesn't rise up in the middle. The layers of a stacked cake will be easier to assemble.


Bake the cake in a 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes until it passes a toothpick test.

This carrot cake is so moist and sweet it doesn't even need frosting but to gild the lily, a cream cheese icing is the perfect finish. Try it and tell me what you think.

Carrot Cake
Blend together:
2 cups sugar
1 cup oil
3 whole eggs

Add:
2 cups grated carrots
1 cup drained crushed pineapple
1 teaspoon vanilla

Stir in:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Mix well.

Stir in 1 cup of chopped walnuts or pecans if desired.

Pour into greased and papered baking pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

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