23 April 2010

Carrot Cake - A Blast From the Past

Chocolate had been my favorite flavor of cake, or anything else, until the day I had carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. I was a teenager, and it was love at first bite. My mother and I couldn't find a recipe for it anywhere, so we made one up. 

And here it is, with a few minor changes I've made over the years. Since I started making it in a half-sheet pan, I use more finely shredded carrots, more finely chopped nuts and tiny Zante currants instead of raisins because it's a thin cake.

You don't need a stand mixer, or even a hand mixer, just a spoon to stir it up. And an 18x13x1-inch half-sheet pan (I LOVE my half-sheet pan). For a casual party, you can serve the cake straight from the pan. For an afternoon tea or other fancy party, you can cut it into dozens of 1 to 1 1/2-inch squares as a quick and easy stand-in for petits fours.

Carrot Sheet Cake

(Makes 18x13x1-inch half-sheet, 32 servings)

The Cake

2 dip-and-sweep cups (10 ounces/283 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups (10.5 ounces/298 grams) sugar
1 1/3 cups (10.67 fluid ounces/316 ml) organic canola oil
2 cups (12 ounces/340 grams) finely shredded carrots
1 cup (5 ounces/142 grams) Zante currants

1 cup (3.75 ounces/106 grams) chopped walnuts or pecans

The Frosting

1 3-ounce (85 grams) package cream cheese, room temperature
4 tablespoons (2 ounces/57 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups (12 ounces/340 grams) powdered sugar
2 tablespoons (1 fluid ounce/30 ml) milk

1 Preheat oven to 350F/180C/Gas4. Spray with cooking spray an 18x13x1-inch half-sheet pan. In small bowl, whisk together flour, soda, cinnamon and salt. In another small bowl, stir a tablespoon of flour mixture into currants to coat and separate; stir in chopped nuts.

2 In large bowl, beat eggs; beat in sugar, then oil. Beat in flour mixture. Stir in carrots, raisins and nuts. Pour into prepared pan. Bake about 30 minutes. Cool in pan on wire rack about 2 hours.

3 In small bowl of electric mixer, cream together the cream cheese, butter and vanilla. Gradually add powdered sugar (no need to sift) and mix until thoroughly combined, adding milk at the end.


Jan Fredrik Lockert said...

Carrot cake is a favourite of mine. Very popular in Norway. I can see you have a personal touch on the recipe. The nice thing with carrot cake is that you can use different spices and herbs, such as mint. Thank you for another interesting recipe. Best regards, Jan Fredrik

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thank you, Jan Fredrik. I would not have thought of using mint! But mint is a classic, if not often seen, accent to cooked carrots; so why not.

Unknown said...

Hi Jean

We love carrot cake..yummy! Will have to try out your recipe...sounds soooo good!

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Thanks, Nancy. I hope you like it. Let me know how it turns out for you. Be sure to not attempt it in just a 15x10x1-inch jelly roll pan, or the batter will likely overflow!

jackL said...

regarding the frosting, is it really a 3 ounce package, or is it an 8 ounce package?


Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Jack, yes, it just takes 3 ounces of cream cheese to give a nice tang to the frosting. I've had frostings made with large amounts of cream cheese, and it's simply overpowering.