The past week has been crazy. I’m not even sure why because I worked my normal hours (no overtime) and was home at a reasonable hour. I didn’t cook a lot last week and I haven’t really been able to use my new mixer as much as I’d like, but if I did we’d probably gain 50 pounds and be miserable. So, maybe it’s a good thing I’m not using it to make dessert super often. I really need to incorporate using the mixer into cooking our meals. It’s not just for dessert, people.
I love carrot cake (Mike does too) so I decided to give it a try. History has proven that I’m a better baker than I think I am and I decided to go all out and make it from scratch. I mean, why have a fancy pants mixer if you’re just going to make cake from a box, right?
This recipe came from a website called Chew Out Loud and I’ll be quite honest in saying that even though I was skeptical about the use of crushed pineapple in a carrot cake, it was pretty damn amazing. I can still count on one hand the number of cakes I’ve made from scratch and this one was by far the easiest. Don’t let the long list of ingredients scare you. It was perfect for a novice baker like myself. The cake was moist, tender and the subtle hint of pineapple really made it great. And that icing. Oh my God, don’t get me started on the icing. I could literally just eat it with a spoon straight from the mixing bowl. Do yourself a favor and make this cake!
For the Cake:
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
- 1 lb carrots, peeled and grated (I grated all the carrots using the large holes on a box grater)
- 1/2 cup crushed pineapple, liquid drained and squeezed out of the fruit
For Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 12 ounces regular cream cheese, softened
- 6 tablespoons salted butter, softened
- 4 teaspoons regular sour cream
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cups confectioner’s (powdered) sugar
- Preheat oven to 350F with rack on lower middle position. Line 2 (9-inch) round cake pans with parchment paper on bottom. Grease parchment paper and sides of pan. Set aside. (I didn’t have parchment paper, so I greased and floured the pans and it came out just fine.)
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and salt. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the granulated sugar, brown sugar, and eggs on medium high until combined (about 45 seconds). Reduce to medium speed and add oil gradually. Increase to high speed and mix until light in color (about 1 minute). Remove bowl and using a rubber spatula, fold in the carrots and pineapple. Gently fold in the dry ingredients just until no flour streaks remain. Do not over mix.
- Scrape batter, divided evenly, into prepared cake pans. Smooth top to release air bubbles. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few tender crumbs attached. About 30-35 minutes.
- Remove pans and cool cakes completely in pans on a wire rack. (At least several hours)
- Meanwhile, make the frosting. In stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the softened cream cheese, butter, sour cream and vanilla at medium high speed until combined (about 30 seconds), scraping down as needed. Add confectioner’s sugar and mix until very fluffy (about 1 minute). Keep chilled until ready to use.
- Be sure cakes are completely cooled. Run a thin knife around edge of cakes to loosen and invert one round cake onto a serving platter. Tap the back of the pan to remove cake and gently peel off the parchment paper. Spread half of the frosting on the top of the cake (I did less so I could have enough to frost the sides also). Repeat with the second layer of cake, placing it gently over the top of frosting. Spread remaining frosting on top and garnish however you like. Cake may be covered and chilled 1 day ahead.