Friday, 15 February 2008

(Betty's) Carrot Cake

This post was meant to be a tribute to my friend Betty and her wonderful carrot cake. She's a Canadian transplant to the UK and like all good North Americans she understands the importance of baking a good cake. Betty took the time to write out her time-honored recipe for carrot cake after Mr A&N came away from his first slice declaring he had been to the promised land and it had had a cream cheese frosting.

With my two bags of carrots bought and aching to be shredded, though, I found that Betty's recipe had disappeared. This lone piece of paper had been tucked into my own trusty book of recipes but I can only presume it feel out during the kitchen building chaos. There was no Betty available to give me the recipe again, and with friends coming around in a few hours I felt I had to stick to the plan.

I instead turned to the internet and found something on All Recipes that seemed to fit the bill, and was highly rated by other users. Losing
my intended recipe set the tone for the experience - I suffered from exploding butter left in the microwave too long, me having eaten one of the 4 eggs needed for breakfast, and accidentally popping the cake out of the spring-bottom dish so that it flipped onto the counter top. I had to substitute hazelnuts for walnuts which turned out to be a good swap, but it seemed as if each step of the recipe was a reminder of how this wasn't meant to be.

I wasn't over-awed by the results. The cake itself was moist and warmingly spicy but a bit too sweet, and the cream cheese frosting didn't have as much of a tang as I would have liked it to. I cut back on the sugar in the frosting since I already knew the cake was sweet, but it still wasn't cream cheese-y enough and slightly too runny. People did ask for seconds so the recipe certainly wasn't a failure, but Betty will be getting a phone call from me soon, as our much-overdue catch up has suddenly become more urgent.

Carrot Cake (from Tammy Elliott on All Recipes website, printed with the changes I made)
makes one 9 x 13 inch tray or two 8 inch circular tins

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 cups white sugar (some comments on the recipe suggest using half brown and half white sugar)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp allspice or nutmeg
  • 3 cups grated carrots
  • 1 cup chopped hazelnuts
For the frosting:
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • about 1 C of hazelnuts, chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Grease and flour your cake pan(s).
  3. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla.
  4. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
  5. Stir in carrots, and then fold in the nuts.
  6. Pour into prepared pan.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  8. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
  9. To Make Frosting: In a medium bowl, combine butter, cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Stir in chopped pecans. Frost the cooled cake.


david santos said...

Hello, Annamarie!
Great menu. tHnak you.
have a good weekend

Bellini Valli said...

Carrot cake is one of my favourite "go to" recipes. I have a "light" version that is no longer "light" with the addition of the cream cheese icing...but what the hay :D

Peter M said...

Carrot cake, simply one the best desserts around.

I'll have the cream cheese icing, thank you very much.

Emiline said...

Sorry it wasn't a raging success, but it still sounds/looks pretty good to me. How can you go wrong with carrot cake with hazelnuts and cream cheese frosting?

And the guests had
Still, contact Betty and report back.

Cinnamonda said...

Promised land with a cream cheese frosting? Heh, thanks for the chuckles! :) Carrot cake is one of my favorites. I hope you'll get your friend's recipe soon.


jasmine said...

I find carrot cake one of those dishes that people take for granted but are so passionate about. A good carrot cake is heaven...a bad one isn't worth the time of day (imo).

My manager's wife makes the best carrot cake I`ve ever had...She'll bake one so he can bring it in to the office...everyone swoons over it...and I now have the recipe...keep meaning to make it...


Gigi said...

I agree with your husband, good carrot cake is the promise land (covered in cream cheese icing). Now, I want carrot cake!

PS I loved your meme.

Elle said...

The exchange of hazelnuts sounds like a great one. A friend gave me the perfect frosting recipe for carrot cake...over 50 years old and you could frost a paper bag with it and everyone would love it, it is so good. Tangy, too. I think that's from the sour cream. Here it is:
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
12 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
¼ cup sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2-3 cups powdered sugar

Cream butter, cream cheese, sour cream and vanilla together until fluffy. Then mix in gradually
the powdered sugar. Start with 2 cups and add to desired texture and taste by ¼ cup at a time.
Spread between layers, on top and on sides of cake.

Annemarie said...

Hi David - thanks, and thanks for stopping by!

Hi Bellini - I agree - carrot cake is one of those desserts that I take for granted a bit but the rare times I make it I wonder why I don't make it more.

Hi Peter - agreed, and it's yours. :)

Hi Emiline - You're right, unless you do very wrong things it's hard not to like combinations of sugar, flour, egg and butter. It's terrible to have that nagging feeling that it should have been better, though!

Hi Tiina - yes, me too. :)

Hi Jasmine - Ooh, make it. And then post the recipe. ;)

Hi Gigi - It does make me think I should find more places in my life for cream cheese frosting, too.

Hi Elle - Brilliant! Thanks so much. Sour cream makes so much sense. I shall treasure that forever. :)

skrockodile said...

That's so sad (that you lost the recipe!). I have lost recipes that I didn't realize would be important to me later on and it's such a disappointment. Maybe it'll pop up when you are least expecting it like a hidden treasure.