Classic Carrot Cake – a deliciously moist layer cake filled with carrots and topped with toasted pecans and a silky smooth cream cheese icing.
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- 1 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar, lightly packed
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 2/3 cups shredded carrots, about 5 large (use the large holes of a box grater to shred the carrots)
- 2/3 cups dried currants
- 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter room temperature
- 3 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1/2 cup buttermilk powder, found near regular powdered milk in the grocery store
- 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 8 ounce packages cream cheese (chilled and cut into 16 equal pieces)
- 2 1/2 cups pecans, toasted and chopped
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 17×12 inch rimmed baking sheet. Line the pan with parchment paper and grease the parchment lightly. Set aside.
- Cut a 6 by 8-inch cardboard rectangle and set aside. I used a cardboard cake circle for this step.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and cloves until blended. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl whisk the sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla together. Be sure to break up any clumps of brown sugar and whisk until smooth. Fold in the carrots and currents with a spatula. Add the flour mixture and fold together just until combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared sheet pan and smooth with an off-set spatula until even. Bake for 15-16 minutes or until the center of the cake is firm to the touch. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes then invert onto a wire rack (do not remove the parchment paper) and then invert again on another wire rack so the parchment side is down and the cake is up. Cool completely.
- Combine butter, sugar, buttermilk powder, vanilla and salt on low speed of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Blend about 2 minutes scraping sides as needed. Increase speed to medium-low and add the cream cheese 1 piece at a time. This can be done by adding a piece every 15 seconds or so until all cream cheese is incorporated. Beat another two minutes until smooth.
- Place the cake on a large cutting board (parchment side down) and cut the cake in half crosswise and then in half lengthwise to make 4 equal rectangles, each 6 by 8 inches. Place one cake rectangle, parchment side up, on the cardboard. Remove the parchment paper. Spread a heaping 2/3 cup of frosting on the first cake layer. Repeat with two more layers, frosting each with a heaping 2/3 cup of frosting. Press gently on each layer to keep the cake level. Place the last layer on top and spread a thin layer of frosting or 1 heaping cup if you choose not to pipe additional frosting on top. Frost the sides of the cake. Hold the cake in one hand and gently press the chopped pecans onto the sides with your other hand. Pipe frosting on top using a large star tip.
- Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.
(Recipe adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Recipes)
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