The Best Carrot Cake ever.
Carrot cakes are by any length my favorite cake. I thoroughly study every carrot cake recipe I run across and test bake many of them. The best of these cakes are chock full of moist bits--raisins, prunes, coconut, apricots and, of course, carrots--and lathered in cream cheese frosting. I tried this one out last week and can report favorable reviews from family and members of the Carroll County Literacy Council. Start out by:
Greasing and buttering 3 nine inch cake pans and turn the oven on to 350 degrees. Get out 2 large mixing bowls and a stand mixer and begin:
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.
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, left 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.
Yes, this cake is a bit complicated to make, and relatively expensive, but the end result is worthy of any celebratory event. This one "takes the cake!" Enjoy.