Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Better Carrot Cake

I've tried all sorts of recipes for carrot cake and none are as good as this one.  I wish I  could recall where it originally came from, but I've had it around for a long time, as it was hand-written in my old cookbook and then imported to my recipe management software years later.

If you feel guilty having dessert, this cake is for you.  I don't imagine there is another cake that is as good for you as this one.  It's full of carrots, pineapple, raisins and nuts, and only uses some flour, sugar and eggs to bind nature's ingredients together.  So go ahead an indulge (you can even serve it without the cream cheese frosting and it will still be wonderful.)

Sheet Cake Version - Recipe Will Fill a Lasagna Pan
Serves 18
I'm not sure if it so good because of the technique of pulling the liquid out of the carrots in advance or if the crushed pineapple gives it that something extra that most carrot cakes do not have.  Maybe it's both.  Whatever the case, if you are looking for a wonderful dessert, bake this cake and you will be asked for it time and again!

Rich and Delicious - Stays Moist for a Week

6 cups  carrots -- grated
1 cup  brown sugar
1 cup  raisins
4 large  eggs
1 1/2 cups  sugar -- white
1 cup  vegetable oil
2 teaspoons  vanilla extract
1 cup  crushed pineapple -- drained 20 oz. can
3 cups  all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons  baking soda
1teaspoon  salt
2 tablespoons  ground cinnamon
1 cup  walnuts -- chopped
Cream Cheese Frosting

Grate carrots using your food processor or a box grater.  Each large carrot will yield about one cup of grated carrot.  Mix the grated carrots with the brown sugar and set aside for 60 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Preheat oven to 350F, avoiding the convection oven if possible. Grease and flour your cake pans.  This is a large recipe which can easily fill two 10 inch cake pans, or two 8 inch cake pans plus a loaf pan, which is what I often do. It will also fill a classic 9 x 12 deep cake pan or lasagna pan. In all it serves 18 people.

Combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and stir gently to blend.

In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs until light yellow in color, gradually beating in white sugar at a medium high speed (Speed 6 on the KitchenAid stand mixer.)  Add oil slowly while you continue to mix and finally the vanilla.  Stop the mixer and add the crushed pineapple.  Blend at low speed ("Stir" on KitchenAid stand mixers.)  When combined, slowly add the flour mixture until will blended.

Stir the raisins into the carrot mixture.  Then with the mixer on low speed, add the carrot mixture and stir to combine.  (The carrots will have released a considerable amount of water, which should be stirred into the batter along with the carrots. Do not be concerned by the amount of extra liquid.)  Scrape down the bowl with a spatula ensuring ingredients are well blended.

Pour evenly into prepared pans.

Bake 35-55 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean when tested.  (Make your first test at 35 minutes, then every 10 minutes until done.)  Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan.

When completely cool, frost with cream cheese frosting.

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