Are you ready for Spring and Summer? With Easter coming up I know you are looking for the perfect recipes, and I have them!
This Carrot Cake is made with fresh carrots, and has ginger snap crumbs on the sides. YUM! And it will be the perfect dessert for your holiday gathering.
If you know me, or have been following this blog for very long, then you know about my love for cake.
Over the past few years I have really devoted myself to improving the quality of my cakes. I RARELY use a box mix any more. (I’m not dissing on box mixes, they can be a lifesaver!!!) I just prefer to make my cakes from scratch.
So of course, this cake has fresh carrots.
I want to include here a few tips for dealing with cakes, as well. If you plan on taking your cake out of the pan, I recommend using parchment paper to line the bottom of the pan. I kept the circle paper that came in my pans, and just use that as my template. Then grease the bottom of the pans with shortening, lay the parchment circles on the shortening. Then I grease the parchment paper with more shortening and lightly dust the pans with flour. Shake any excess flour out of the pan. Pour the cake batter into the pans and bake as normal.
Once the cakes are done, let them cool slightly in the pans. Then slide a knife around the edges and, carefully, turn the cakes out onto a cooling rack. Let cool completely. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap, and place on a cake board, or other flat surface. Then refrigerate for a couple hours or freeze for 20-30 minutes before using.
When ready to assemble the cakes, I level the tops first. Cut off the tall centers, or tall sides if the center sunk in. You want to leave them as tall as possible, but still get them level.
Next I torte each layer of cake. That means I cut it in half through the middle to make two thinner layers. It makes for a slightly taller cake, that just looks pretty, and it gets more frosting in there.
I used a cream cheese frosting on this cake, but I wanted a really light and fluffy cream cheese frosting. So, I folded my cream cheese frosting into some fresh whipped cream. Yum.
To get the spiral swirl on the top of the cake, place your frosting spatula on one edge, laying it nearly flat. With just the tip touching, gently spin or rotate the cake stand while dragging the spatula. Once you’ve made a complete circle, simply slide the spatula tip in towards the center a little to make the next circle, never lifting the spatula up. The sides of the cake, you don’t need to do a perfect job on the frosting, because you are going to cover them. I used crushed ginger snap cookies. They are a little spicy, and they were the PERFECT compliment to the cinnamon flavor in the cake.
To put the crumbs on the sides, I held a sheet of parchment paper in my left hand and a spoon in my right hand, with the cake stand on a large pan, to catch crumbs. The parchment paper was held at an angle with the bottom edge nearly touching the side of the cake and the right hand using the spoon to sprinkle the crumbs onto the paper. The crumbs run down the paper and stick to the frosting. Use your left hand to gently shake the crumbs off and move the paper from the bottom toward the top of the cake. It takes a little finagling to get the hang of it, but just keep working it til the sides get pretty well coated.
- 2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 eggs- room temperature
- 1/2 cup butter-melted
- 3/4 cup buttermilk- room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1, 8 oz can crushed pineapple- drained
- 4 large carrots, peeled and grated
- Fluffy Cream Cheese frosting: 8 oz cream cheese- at room temperature
- 1 cup butter- at room temperature
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1-2 Tbs milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 Tbs powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup crushed ginger snaps
- Set buttermilk and eggs out to come to room temperature. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare pans with parchment paper, grease and flour. Mix all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
- Peel and grate the carrots, set aside. Drain the pineapple juice, set fruit aside.
- In a separate bowl stir together the buttermilk, eggs, vanilla, and butter. Add these wet ingredients to the bowl of dry ingredients and mix til fully incorporated. Add the carrots and pineapple, and gently stir. Pour into two prepared 8 inch round pans, or a greased 9×13 pan.
- Bake two round pans for 30-38 minutes. At 30 minutes check the cake, give the pan a little jiggle and see if the cake jiggles. If the cake shows no movement, then test the center with a toothpick. If it does jiggle, bake for a few more minutes then check again. For a 9×13 pan, bake 40 minutes then check the cake with the same method. Bake a few more minutes if needed.
- If using a 9×13 pan, let cake cool completely in the pan, then frost. For two 8 inch round pans, let baked cakes cool for about 10 minutes, then loosen them from the pans and invert onto a cooling rack. Let cool completely. Wrap the cooled cakes tightly with plastic wrap and chill them for 1-2 hours in the fridge, or 20-30 minutes in the freezer before cutting and frosting them.
- Prepare frosting by beating the cream cheese until smooth, preferably in a stand mixer, but hand mixer will work as well. Add the soft butter and beat for 1-2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla, then add the 4 cups powdered sugar and beat again. Add the 1-2 Tbs of milk to thin frosting as needed.
- In separate mixing bowl, beat the heavy cream and 1 Tbs powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. Slowly fold the cream cheese frosting in with the whipped cream. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in about 1/2 cup of the frosting at a time. Repeat until all the frosting has been folded in. Frosting should be light and fluffy.
- Level the cakes, and torte them, by cutting them in half thickness wise. Lay one layer of cake on the cake board or stand. Fill with frosting, then top with the next layer of cake. Repeat. Chill frosting if it is too soft.
- Spread frosting on the top and sides of the cake. Using a frosting spatula, lightly drag the tip of it around the top edge of the cake, while turning the cake board or stand. Working towards the center to give the frosting a spiral swirl look. Carefully sprinkle the cookie crumbs onto the sides of the cake. Let cake sit in fridge until ready to serve.
This cake is perfectly moist, and the flavors really balance well.
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