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