Tuesday, April 2, 2013

week 13: the best carrot cake ever

Normally, I don't think about cake.  I actually have more of a savory tooth than a sweet tooth so I don't crave cake in quite the same way that some do.  But with the birth of spring, daffodils springing up in the yard and the earliest Easter in a few years, a multitude of recipes for eggs, ham, and carrot cake recipes appeared in my inbox.  I was quickly reminded, ooh, carrot cake.

I'm picky, however.  I've only made carrot cake once before and I wasn't entirely impressed with the recipe I chose.  It was a Jamie Oliver recipe I dug up at Martha Stewart and it didn't have raisins or pineapple in it and it ended up a little dry.  I guess I'm not sure how carrot infused cake could end up dry.  The frosting was amazing though.  The stuff that white fluffy cream cheese dreams are made from.

So, armed with my perfect frosting recipe, I went into research mode seeking out the perfect carrot cake recipe.  For me.  Because this is really all about me isn't it.

The carrot cake recipe of my dreams had to have (or be able to have) pineapple and raisins.  I find people that don't like fruit in their carrot cake suspicious. Also, I didn't want the cake to be too sweet.  Carrots are already delightfully sweet and with the addition of raisins and pineapple, I knew it would be fruity and sweet.


And then I stumbled on this: 21 Years of Carrot Cake at Food52.  Before even getting to the recipe, the first sentence includes coconut oil.  Coconut oil is supposed to healthy, is delicious, and coconut and carrot cake sounded like the perfect combination.

More intriguing yet, the second sentence begins, "During times of inordinate stress, pressure, or change, I find that more than any amount of yoga or breathing, the best meditative practice is simply the act..."
...of writing a long and beautiful explanation as to why the heritage of this carrot cake is so important.  No, that's not what she said, go there to read the rest. But I have been stressed and am in the middle of unruly change.  And, it had pineapple and raisins.  

I made a couple of alterations to the original recipe.  Pecans instead of walnuts, frozen pineapple rather than canned, and of course I topped it with that amazing lime mascarpone cream cheese icing.

And it was the best carrot cake ever.

21 Years of Carrot Cake with Lime Mascarpone Icing

Cake:
3/4 cups raw sugar
2 cups all purpose baking flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cups melted coconut oil
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2-1/2 heaping cups of grated carrots
1 cup roughly chopped pecans
1-1/2 cups frozen pineapple chunks
1 cup raisins

Icing:
4 oz mascarpone cheese
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 scant cup confectioners' sugar
zest and juice of two limes
coconut flakes

Preheat oven to 350F.
Butter (or coconut oil) a 9" x 13" pan.  You could use any pan you like, but this is what I had.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.  Set aside.  In a larger bowl, beat the eggs and add the sugar.  Slowly beat in the coconut oil and vanilla.  With a spatula, add the pineapple and flour mixture and stir gently until just incorporated.  Stir in the carrots and pecans.  Fill pan to 3/4 full with cake batter.  Bake for 25-30 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool before icing.

For icing: Mix ingredients together.  Spread icing over top of cooled cake and sprinkle with coconut flakes.

Happy Spring!


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