Carrot cake is something almost everyone loves. But it’s something that really polarizes people. With raisins? With pineapple? With nuts? Without any/all of the above? It’s safe to say that a simple, warmly spiced cake without too many mix-ins will win most hearts. In the case that this cake was destined for an office birthday party, I wanted to bring just that.
I had some farmer’s market carrots in the cupboard and some apple butter in the fridge that I knew would add a nice moistness (sorry, if you’re one of those people who hate the m-word) while letting me sub out some oil from the original recipe. Right on!
Even though I was able to skimp out a bit of the oil, don’t kid yourself, folks…this ain’t no weight-watchers recipe. It’s sweet (but not overly so), decadent, with a tight crumb and is fantastic even a day or two after it’s made. I made some cream cheese frosting and sprinkled the whole cake with chopped walnuts. Next time I’m going to add them right into the batter for a little texure; other than that, I will come right out and say this is a DAMN good carrot cake! Bookmark it! You will thank me.
Perfect Carrot Cake
- 4 eggs
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup apple butter (or applesauce)
- 1.5 cup sugar (up to 2 cups if using unsweetened apple sauce)
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2.5 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 3 cups grated carrots (about 4 large carrots)
- 3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and foil-line your baking pans, whether 2 8 or 9 inch rounds or a 9 x 13 inch pan.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. In a large mixing bowl, with an electric mixer, combine vegetable oil, apple butter/sauce, eggs, granulated sugar and vanilla. Slowly stir in dry ingredients and mix until well blended. Stir in grated carrots and nuts. Bake cakes in preheat oven for 37-39 minutes for the rounds or 40-50 minutes for the rectangle, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool 5 minutes in cake dishes before removing to a wire rack to cool. Slather with a good dose of cream cheese icing and another sprinkle of nuts! You can keep it in the fridge for 2-3 days.
Simply Awesome Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 block (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
- 1/3 cup butter, softened
- 2-3 cups icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in a bowl until fluffy. Slowly start adding icing sugar, testing along the way (I know, the horror...) until it\'s to your preferred sweetness.