I’ve already mentioned how important food was to my family growing up. I associate food with memories from my childhood, especially the holidays. When I got married I decided that I wanted to make food a part of our holiday family traditions. What better way to celebrate Easter than with carrot cake! I find it difficult to eat carrot cake out at restaurants because most include raisins, which I despise. I love making carrot cake at home because it’s raisin-free, but if you like them, then add about 1/2 cup to the recipe below. Besides omitting the raisins and substituting a few lower calorie ingredients, this is the exact same recipe from The Bon Appétit Cookbook (2006). Watch out because this recipe is smack your momma good!
2 c. sugar
1 1/2 c. vegetable oil
4 large eggs
2 c. all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. nutmeg
3 c. finely grated carrots (about 1 pound)
1/2 c. chopped pecans
4 c. powdered sugar
2 8-ounce packages Neufchatel cheese, room temperature
1/2 c. (1 stick) margarine, room temperature
4 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease three 9-inch cake pans with margarine. Line bottom of pans with waxed paper. Grease wax paper. (*Note: I tried omitting the wax paper one year with disastrous results. I could barely get the cake out and had to do reconstructive surgery with the icing. It still tasted great, but it was not a pretty sight. Take the extra few minutes and use the wax paper. You’ll thank me when you’re trying to get the sticky carrot cake out!)
Using an electric mixer, beat sugar and vegetable oil until combined. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together. Slowly add to the sugar oil mixture until just combined. Stir in carrots and pecans.
Pour batter into prepared pans, dividing equally. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean and cakes begin to pull away from sides of pan, about 45 minutes. Cool in pans on racks 15 minutes. Turn cakes out onto racks, remove wax paper, and cool completely.
To make the frosting, beat all ingredients until smooth and creamy using an electric mixer.
Place each layer of cake on a plate or cake stand. Frost the first layer before stacking the next. Once all layers are frosted, frost the sides. Run water over an offset spatula and shake off the excess water. Use the wet offset spatula to apply pressure to the sides and smooth the frosting. Add decorative swirls or additional nuts as a garnish. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I’m big on taste and not appearance so I didn’t do anything fancy to the outside. The taste more than makes up for the lack of adornment! Refrigerate and enjoy.
What are some of your Easter traditions?