David and Mary Ann Bell's Big Carrot Cake
I made a carrot cake this week that got high marks from the family. It was so good I decided to name it Bell's Big Carrot Cake in honor of David and Mary Ann Bell. They are two of the best people I know, and if I had the power to do it, I would name an airport after them. Until that time, this cake will have to do.
Carrot cakes are a bit complicated to make. This recipe has four steps that I've divided up by the sequence of when ingredients are added. I find it helpful to line up all of the fixings--and the required bowls and spoons--on the counter before I start. Here we go:
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
Put the dry ingredients above into a bowl and whisk together.
3 cups grated carrots
1 cup coconut
1 cup coarsely ground walnuts or pecans
¾ cup raisins or dried cranberries
Put the carrots, nuts, fruit and coconut into a bowl and mix well.
2 cups sugar
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
4 large eggs
Put the oil and the sugar into a stand mixer bowl and mix on low speed until well blended. Put the eggs in, one egg at a time. Mix until the eggs are fully integrated. Now, add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and blend for a couple of minutes. When the mix looks like a classic cake batter, add the carrot and nut-fruit mixture and mix for a couple of minutes.
Grease and flour 3 9 inch by 2 inch pans. Evenly divide the batter into the 3 pans and bake at 350 degrees for between 40 and 50 minutes. At 20 minutes into the baking cycle rotate the pans. Be sure to check for doneness--insert a thin bladed knife--at about 35 minutes in case you have a "hot" oven. You do not want to over-bake this cake.
Cool the cakes for at least 15 minutes and then separate them from the pans and put one layer on a cake plate and the other two layers on sheets of wax paper. Now, make the frosting.
8 oz. cream cheese at room temperature.
1 stick of unsalted butter at room temperature
3 ½ to 4 cups of powdered sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
½ cup coconut
Cream the butter and cream cheese in the stand mixer. Slowly add the powdered sugar and mix until fully integrated. The mixture should look like frosting at this point. Add one tablespoon of lemon juice and mix well. Add the coconut and another tablespoon of lemon juice if you want a smoother frosting.
When the cakes are at room temperature, put 1/3 of the frosting on the first layer. Spread it to the edges of the cake with a table knife. Using a spatula, lift the second layer off the waxed paper and put it on the first layer. Put 1/3 of the frosting on the second layer and spread to the edges of the cake. Repeat for the third layer. They isn't any reason to frost the sides of the cake unless you want to. Refrigerate for at least an hour before cutting.
This is one of the best tasting cakes I've made. Yes, it is a bit complicated to make, and expensive so far as cakes go, but it is worth the time and money. I hope you enjoy Bell's Big Carrot Cake as much as I did.