Chomp Chomp Chomp.
I am eating a giant slice of this delicious carrot cake as I type. Forgive me. I can't help it. It's absolutely the best carrot I've tasted in a long while. I'm trying to id myself into thinking this is a vegetable dish ... it helps me control the guilt.
It's not working. The slice is too good to be healthy. Sure, we have two cups of shredded carrots in this baby (that's five small carrots, mind you) but there's also lots of sugar. And, don't forget the thick layer of nutty, cream cheese topping that blankets the slice. Oh My God.
So what makes this carrot slice any better than the rest?
For one thing, there's really a lot of carrot which accounts for the brilliant orange hue of the cake. You can literally see the shredded bits of carrot in the slices. It's a visual stunner as much as well.
Next, it's incredibly moist and soft.
Next, there are nuts in the cake AND nuts in the icing. Come on, say it with me once again, Oh My God.
I took the recipe off Ree Drummond, the pioneer woman. I tweaked it a little by reducing the sugar (I can't say this enough: American cake recipes often are too too sweet) and replacing the ground cinnamon with ground ginger (I was all out of cinnamon). I also added nuts in the cake. The original recipe doesn't have nuts in the cake; only chopped pecans in the frosting. I added walnuts both in the cake (slightly chunky) and also in the frosting (chopped really fine).
I like a cake that's moist, soft AND has crunch.
So let's gets started. First you sift the dry ingredients together. So that's 2 cups all purpose flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp ground ginger (or cinnamon).
Next, add 1.5 cups sugar, 1 cup vegetable oil and 4 eggs into the mixing bowl of your electric mixer and beat (with a whisk) till well incorporated.
Add the sifted flour and stuff in gradually.
Grate two cups of carrots.
I never thought I'd say a carrot was pretty but ... look at it! 2 cups of grated carrot may seem an awful lot but don't you dare reduce it.
Turn off the mixer. Add the carrots and mix into the batter, by hand.
Add about 1/2 cup of roughly chopped walnuts.
You should have a thick batter, chock full of carrots and nuts.
Pour the batter into a greased sheet pan and bake at 180C for about 25 to 30 mins. To test if the cake is done, open the oven door and gently shake the sheet pan. If the cake jiggles in the centre, it needs another 5 to 10 mins.
While the cake is baking you can make your icing. You will need 250gms cream cheese, 113 gms butter, 2 cups of icing sugar and vanilla extract. Oh! And 3/4 cup walnuts, chopped extra fine.
See the nutty cream cheese frosting?
Sift the sugar and set aside.
Cream cream cheese (softened and at room temp) and butter (also softened) in your mixer. Add 1 tsp vanilla extract. Turn off the mixer and add the chopped walnuts and mix it into the creamy frosting.
Spread generously on the cake when it has cooled completely.
Chomp! Chomp! Chomp!
I am surprised I took time out to take these photos. Even with reducing the sugar by quite a bit, this cake is sweeeeeet. If you prefer your cakes a little less sweet, you may want to reduce the sugar on the frosting just a little more.