Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Carrot Cake

I'm going to let you in on a little secret.  I don't really care for cake.  I'll have a piece every now and then, but I could really live without it.  Well, except for carrot cake.  To be more specific, carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.  I adore it!  I'm fairly certain that I could eat the whole cake, if it were acceptable.  I'm not even kidding a little bit.  The whole cake - mine!

Here's another thing you may or may not know about me.  I don't like to use box mixes to make cakes.  It all boils down to my dad.  When I was growing up, that man could tell a box cake with the first bite.  He would still eat it, but he didn't like it, so I just got used to making cakes from scratch.  I never minded and now I'm just so used to doing it that way, it's habit.  That being said, I've never made a carrot cake before.  It just seemed like a lot of work, and I've mentioned before how much I love baking (and by that, you know I mean loathe baking).  I don't know if I would have made the cake, either, if I didn't have an abundance of carrots from my garden.

After searching the web, I found a good base recipe that I heavily tweaked.  The result was a very flavorful and moist carrot cake that I just can't get enough of.

Here's your Cast of Characters.

1 1/2 Cups sugar
1/2 Cup honey
3/4 Cup vegetable oil
3 Large eggs
1 1/2 Tsps. baking soda
1 Tbsp. good quality cinnamon (like Saigon Cinnamon)
1/2 Tsp. nutmeg
1 Tsp. dried orange peel
1/4 Tsp., each, ginger and allspice
1 Tsp. salt (not pictured)
2 Tsps. vanilla extract
3 Cups freshly grated carrots
1 Cup pineapple juice, unsweetened
2 1/2 cups flour
1 Cup pecan pieces, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9 x 13 pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Here's where it gets really tricky.  Dump all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl.

Mix well, until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 40 - 50 minutes, until toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean.  It's fine for a few crumbs to stick to the toothpick - it will be moist as it cools.

Top with your favorite cream cheese frosting, whether it is homemade or store-bought.

Whew!  That was tough, wasn't it?  I'm confident you can handle all the steps, though!