So, Happy Birthday Mom!
A carrot cake might make you think "healthy cake" due to all the vegetable, but I promise there is nothing healthy or diet about this cake. Just surrender to temptation, it will be worth it. It is dense and moist, sweet and a little spicy.
This recipe makes a really big cake so try not to cry at the amount of oil, sugar, cream cheese and what not. Just have a party so you can share it!
What you will need:
1 1/4 cup Canola Oil
1 cup White Sugar
1 cup Brown Sugar
3 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 cups Flour
2 tsp Baking Soda
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
3 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
3 cups Grated Carrots
1 cup Chopped Walnuts
1/2 cup Butter, softened
8 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
3 cups Powdered Sugar
3/4 cup Chopped Walnuts
Preheat your oven to 350 and grease a 9x13 baking dish.
Let's start by grating the carrots, the picture above is a gross overstatement of the number of carrots you will need, it will be closer to 4. Wash the carrots and peel them if you like, I chose to skip the peeling. Be sure to use the side of your grater with the largest holes, if you use the smaller holes you end up with carrot mush and that will lead to Carrot Mush Cake. Grate 3 cups worth of carrot and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl combine the 1 1/4 of Canola Oil, 4 Eggs, 1 cup White Sugar, 1 cup Brown Sugar, and 3 tsp Vanilla Extract. I substituted in 1/4 cup of Grapeseed Oil which is why mine looks green, but it is not necessary, I just like it and have it on hand. Use beaters until smooth.
Now add 2 cups Flour, 2 tsp Baking Soda, 2 tsp Baking Powder, 1/2 tsp Salt, 3 tsp Cinnamon, 1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice (or Nutmeg). Beat ingredients together until smooth.
Now add the 3 cups of Grated Carrots. Use a spoon or a spatula to mix the carrots into the batter.
Next stir in 1 cup of Chopped Walnuts.
Pour the batter into the greased 9x13 baking dish and spread it out evenly. I know the cake looks kind of disgusting at this step, so try to keep in mind that it will look and taste a lot better after it is cooked :)
Bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Mine was ready at 48 minutes. At 40 minutes you can check the cake by pulling it out and giving it a little wiggle. If the cake is jiggly in the middle then it needs more time to set up. Don't walk away and forget about it though! At this stage a few minutes can make a big different. Carrot Cakes should be nice and moist so be careful not to over cook it.
Now doesn't that look better??
Let the cake cool completely before frosting. . .this is important, if you frost it too soon your cake will be strangely soggy from all of the steam trapped under the frosting. I chose to only frost the top of the cake since I wanted to keep it in the baking dish. If you would like to frost all of the sides as well, let the cake cool for at least 10 minutes before flipping it onto a large cooling rack.
On to the frosting!In a medium sized bowl slightly soften 1 stick of Butter and 8 ounces of Cream Cheese. Add 1 tsp of Vanilla (optionally add 1 tsp of Cinnamon). Beat together until smooth. Slowly beat in 3 cups of Powdered Sugar until all is combined. Stir in 3/4 cup Chopped Walnuts.
Spread the frosting over the cake evenly.
Keep the cake covered and refrigerated. To keep the cover from sticking to all of the frosting, you can make a little tent using toothpicks or coffee stir sticks around the edges of the cake and cover it in tin foil.