Cake has never been a favorite dessert of mine. I love ice cream. I love cookies and brownies but typically I am turned off from cake because of frosting. Growing up, I never liked eating the cake at birthday parties. It was always way too sweet and would make me feel sick. Since I grew up with a mother that could bake, I definitely appreciate homemade cakes and typically the frosting she makes is fairly light. However, in general, less frosting is great with me!
Cream cheese frosting is ONE exception! Hence, the love of carrot cake :D There is something about carrot cake that is so delicious. I love the moist texture the shredded carrots help provide.
Since it is probably my love of cream cheese that makes me like cream cheese frosting, the addition of sugar must still be light and the frosting layer thin. The right amount of GOOD frosting can compliment the cake so well but honestly I still love eating cake plain :D
~Adapted from Ina Garten
~Can be made Gluten/Dairy-Free
2 c. sugar
1 c. vegetable oil
1 t vanilla
2 c. gluten-free flour mixture (or all purpose flour if making gluten-full)
2 t xanthum gum (only use with gluten-free flour)
1-2 t ground cinnamon
2 t baking soda
1 ½ t kosher salt
1 lb (4 cups) carrots,
My mom always makes this gluten/dairy-free and it is SO good! I have made it gluten-free but not dairy-free since I cannot give up cream cheese! My mom just uses vegan cream cheese and Earth Balance in the frosting.
The frosting amounts are adjusted from Ina’s recipe. I did not want to use more than one package of cream cheese (which is 8 oz) so I adjusted it according to that. Also the sugar is just an estimate. I make it to taste.
Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz cream cheese (recipe calls for 3/4 lb)
10 T butter (recipe calls for 1/2 lb)
3-4 c confectioners sugar (recipe calls for 1 lb)
1 t pure vanilla extract
What To Do:
- Grate carrots in a Cuisinart or if you’re like me and don’t have one, use a grater (Cuisinart in picture above is from baking at my Aunt and Uncle’s house). It is much quicker with the Cuisinart though! I am definitely asking for one for my birthday :)
- Microwave carrots 2-3 minutes. Set aside.
- Beat sugar, oil and eggs in a bowl of an electric mixer. Add the vanilla and mix again.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour (and xanthum gum if making GF), baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add to the wet ingredients. Add the carrots and mix until combined.
- Pour batter into a 13 x 9 baking dish (for sheet cake) or into two round cake pans (for layer cake). Ina’s recipe is for muffins so that is also an option :) For the sheet or layer cake, check after about 15-20 minutes. Keep checking every 5 minutes or so until a toothpick comes out clean.
- For the frosting, mix the cream cheese, butter and vanilla in a bowl of an electric mixer. Add the sugar and mix until smooth.
A Little More:
If making your own gluten-free flour mixture, here is a suggestion: 2 c brown rice to 2/3 potato starch to 1/3 tapioca. Make this anytime and keep in your cupboard for easy gluten-free baking.
Eating gluten? Try the carrot cake with your favorite IPA :)
Music For Your Ears:
~Set The Fire To the Third Bar by Snow Patrol feat. Martha Wainwright
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