Carrot cake doesn’t have to be the unpopular younger sibling of chocolate cake. True decadence lies not only in feasting on sweets with American cooking techniques, after all, but doing so with the full knowledge that you’re doing this in a (relatively) healthy way. This balanced carrot cake recipe comes from the New York Times – be aware that all nuts and coconut here are optional, but recommended. If you can’t stomach nuts, then switch out the raisins for dried cranberries for a sweeter, more subtle flavor to your cake. For a variant on this that will definitely appeal to kids, you can try making carrot cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, very similar to this recipe, but designed with smaller hands in mind.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups grated carrots (9 carrots)
- 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup moist, plump raisins
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup canola oil
- 4 large eggs
- 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
- 3 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut
- toasted finely chopped nuts
First, be responsible and heat your oven to 325 degrees with your racks dividing the oven into thirds. Butter and flour three 9-inch round, 2-inch deep cake pans, flouring the insides. Put two pans on one baking sheet and the third on a second.
Begin whisking your flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Then, in a separate bowl, stir the carrots, chopped nuts, coconut and raisins.
Use a whisk to beat the sugar and oil together until smooth, and then add the eggs one by one, continuing to beat them. Use a large rubber spatula as all the eggs are added and stir gently all ingredients together.
Put an equal amount of batter in each baking pan, and slide them on in to the oven. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, rotating the pans top to bottom and front to back at the midway point to ensure even heating. Transfer the pans to cooling racks, then turn them out to cool at room temperature.
On to the frosting: Use a mixer with a paddle to beat the cream cheese and butter together, gradually adding sugar, then lemon juice.
Scoop out half of the frosting and stir the coconut into it. This will be your top layer of icing.
Now, you can just frost and serve.