So, the original recipe I used said that there would be a ton of frosting leftover. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.
I had to make two batches to cover the cake the way I wanted to. “The way I wanted to” originally being pretty rosettes, which I then over-thought and ruined by trying to add color. Don’t do that. Leave them as plain, white, pristine rosettes. Trust me. Simple is so much better here.
Speaking of rosettes – know of any good tutorials? I used this one: Rose Cake Tutorial. As is generally the case for anxiety-me, there isn’t enough detail in the steps in that one for my taste. I want to be walked through the most basics of basics in order to feel a little more confident. My hesitation shows in the results, sadly.
Anyhoo, I’ve always said that I’m much better at making food taste good than I am at making it look good. I mean, you can pretty safely call the below a “cake wreck,” but it was really delicious (and look at how thick the frosting is!).
Anyway, on to the important stuff. CAKE. Carrot cake. With Cream. Cheese. Frosting. I am convinced the frosting is why most people like carrot cake in the first place. I mean, the cake itself in this recipe is pretty great, the caramel is pretty nice too… but the frosting is the star. Rich, creamy, not too sweet. Just lovely.
I made this when Brie requested carrot cake for her fabulous birthday. I was happy to oblige, especially since this year’s birthday theme was SO much less complicated than the year prior. Last year, we did this:
Remember? The Chinese-inspired birthday? It was incredibly delicious, but wow – a lot of work to pull off. This time we went with a “movie theater food” theme: hot dogs, buttered popcorn, sloppy Joe nachos, homemade soft pretzels, and lots and lots of candy. Jr. Mints, the red licorice that comes from Trader Joes and is SO much better than Red Vines or Twizzlers, Sour Patch Kids, gummy bears, lollipops, chocolate covered raisins… I’m sure I’m forgetting some. Regardless, it was super easy to pull off and barrels of fun. (Someone snuck in some cream cheese wontons, because that’s how we do.)
Plus there was the carrot cake. Just look at it.
- 3 cups super finely grated carrots (the finer, the better)
- 2 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 cups sugar
- 1¼ cups canola or vegetable oil
- 4 eggs
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Generously butter and flour two 9" cake pans. You'll also probably want to line the bottom with parchment paper, depending on how much your pans like to stick to things.
- Whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, ginger, nutmeg, and ginger in a medium bowl.
- In a separate large bowl, whisk together oil and sugar until very well combined.
- Slowly stir in flour mixture, then fold in grated carrots. Batter will be quite thick.
- Pour batter evenly into both pans (split evenly between the pans).
- Bake for 35-40 minutes until a tester comes out clean - be careful not to overbake (the cake will dry out FAST).
- Remove pans from oven and allow cakes to cool in the pans for at least 15 minutes.
- Turn out onto cooling rack and allow to cool completely before adding optional caramel drizzle and maple cream cheese frosting.
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ½ stick salted butter
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- Whisk together ingredients over medium high heat for about 7 minutes or until it begins to thicken.
- Allow to cool slightly, then drizzle over the center segment of your carrot cake. Allow to cool further as you frost the cake (if it accidentally solidifies completely during that time, heat it up slightly to make it a liquid again).
- Once the cake is fully frosted, drizzle the caramel as generously as you would like over the entire thing. Yum!
- 4 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- ½ cup of maple-freaking-syrup
- Using an electric mixer, combine all of the ingredients together and beat until nice and fluffy.
- Refrigerate for about 30 minutes, or until it firms up.
- FROST YOUR CAKE!
She lives in the Bay Area and cites her diverse background as her biggest influence: her visual artist mom is half-Chinese, half-Greek, and from Hawai’i; her film-loving, world-music curating dad is from Montana; and she lived in both California and Montana while growing up. She loves at least a little bit about virtually everything (Pokémon Snap included) and aims to be a Jane of all trades. By day Cat is a multiple-hat-wearing media person.
She is also allergic to felines.