Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Homemade Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Yes, it's far past Easter Sunday now, but who says carrot cake is only for Easter?! I think carrot cake should be a year-round dessert (which I'm sure it is for most people).

I made this for our Easter gathering with my side of the family- which was actually one week after the actual date of Easter- so I'm not too far behind here.

This particular recipe came with many, many firsts:
  • First time I baked a cake in a round dish.
  • First time I baked a cake from scratch.
  • First time I made a layer cake.
  • First time I made homemade cream cheese frosting.
  • First time I decorated a cake on its sides, too (ya know, not just decorating the top of the cake in a 9x13 pan).
  • And, first time I used a cake plate to display a cake.

With so many firsts, I'm glad it turned out so well! But it really did.  I got many thumbs up for my creation.

Annnnddddd, I even made this cake healthier than the original version. Now, there's always a time to indulge and not cut corners, but if it's tastes just as good, there's no reason not to. And in my opinion, my swaps are not counted as cutting corners. My changes just bring in more nutritional content to the recipe. Big Win! I also used over 1 1/2 cups LESS sugar than the original recipe called for. It was still perfectly sweet!  Even bigger win!!
Healthier Carrot Cake
Adapted from Janetha at Meals and Moves
For the cake:
  • 2 cups whole wheat white flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup raw cane sugar or white sugar
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 2 1/2 cups grated carrots
  • 3/4 cup raw coconut flakes
For the frosting:
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
  • 2- 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  •  Preheat oven to 350. Line three round cake pans with parchment paper or spray well with nonstick spray.
  • Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a bowl. Set aside.
  • Using a hand or stand mixer, combine eggs, sugar, oil, buttermilk, and vanilla and mix until smooth.
  • Slowly add flour mixture to the wet ingredients, a little at a time until fully mixed.
  • Fold in carrots and coconut.
  • Distribute cake batter evenly among the cake pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • While the cake is cooling, prepare the frosting. Using a hand or stand mixer, cream together butter and cream cheese. Add vanilla. Slowly add the powdered sugar a little bit at a time until fully incorporated and frosting is smooth.
  • Spread the frosting onto the cake with a layer between each cake, on the top, and on the sides. Garnish with sprinkles and decorations, if desired.

And why is it that you can find multiple products over and over when you aren't looking for them but when you are, they are nowhere to be found.?!? I see cake stands in every TJ Maxx and Marshall's in the city all the time. I've always wanted one but refrained because I really have no more room in my kitchen and never had a real need. I'm not a frequent cake baker or decorator as proven in my long lists of firsts above. 

Kaydin and I set out to find a simple, inexpensive cake plate for my plan of making this particular cake for Easter. Wouldn't ya know that I couldn't find one anywhere! Except a couple plain white ones for $25. Nope, this girl's not spending that much! Finally, in the third store we looked I found this pretty purple cake stand on clearance for $10!! Score!
Have you ever made a homemade layer cake?