Carrot cake, spread with a thick layer of cream cheese frosting, is a welcome treat for any gathering. For a layered cake, you can divide the batter between two 9-inch (23-cm.) round pans, and decrease the baking time by about 10 minutes. Sandwich the frosting between the layers, then frost the top and sides of the cake. If you like a lot of frosting, double this recipe.
2 cups (8 oz./250 g.) cake flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups (12 oz./375 g.) sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups (10 fl. oz./310 ml.) canola oil
Grated zest of 1 orange
4 large carrots, peeled and grated (about 3 cups/1 lb./500 g.)
Cream cheese frosting (recipe follows)
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter and flour a 9-by-13-by-2-inch (23-by-33-by-5 cm.) baking pan.
Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg onto a sheet of parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, eggs, oil and orange zest until thoroughly combined. Stir in the carrots. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 35-40 minutes. Watch closely at the end so that the cake does not overbake. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Invert the cake onto the rack and let cool completely. Cover with a clean, slightly damp kitchen towel so that the outside does not dry out.
Transfer the cooled cake to a platter. Using an icing spatula, frost the cake with a thick layer of cream cheese frosting and serve. Serves 10-12.
Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 lb. (250 g.) cream cheese, at cool room temperature
1/4 cup (2 oz./60 g.) unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup (4 oz./125 g.) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Gradually beat in the sugar and continue to mix until thoroughly combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Use right away, or, if the consistency is too soft, refrigerate the frosting until it is spreadable, 10-15 minutes. The frosting will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Find more mouthwatering ways to end a meal in our cookbook Dessert of the Day, by Kim Laidlaw.