T’s birthday is in early January. We’re always so full from Christmas that he always defers his cake until later. The other day, he said, “Isn’t it time for my birthday cake?”
As always, the kind of cake was left to him. I was surprised when he didn’t choose Black Forest cake and instead decreed that it would be carrot cake. Yes!! J’adore carrot cake!
It’s easy to make. And. It. Is. Delicious.
And good for you! Think of all the vitamins!
The practice of combining cheese, fruit, and nuts dates back to ancient times. These were often served at the end of a meal because they were thought to aid in digestion.
– Food Timeline: History Notes
Hmmm, do you think the ancients meant cream cheese? And if some vegetables are added, will it be even better for the digestion?
I don’t remember how it was that I tasted R’s cake all those years ago. But I do remember asking her for her recipe. She readily agreed and grabbing a pen and ripped a piece of paper out of a notebook and began to write it out. As now, she was on a major health kick, often using whole wheat flour and substituting honey for sugar.
I still have the loose piece of paper that she wrote on. One side has the “not-so-decadent version” calling for whole wheat flour and frozen bananas and the other side has the “decadent version” that was her original recipe calling for evil plain flour and sugar. Guess which of these versions I have never made….
I’ve made this carrot cake on many occasions. And every time, just like that first time I tasted R’s carrot cake, everyone has exclaimed that it’s the best carrot cake they’ve ever tasted.
Forget the travesties that are sold in various restaurants and bakeries. R’s carrot cake is the real thing.
This time round, in my haste, I used all white sugar, rather than adding a half and half blend of white and dark brown sugar I normally do. For the fruit and nuts, I added even amounts of pecans, Thompson raisins and currants. As I stirred everything together, the batter seemed a little thick, so I grated in a little more carrot.
Also, please note that in spite of the fact that I have a pencilled note to use margarine rather than oil, it has been eons since we’ve even had margarine in the house. I used sunflower oil.
And speaking of sunflower oil, I was a little too liberal when I was oiling the pyrex dish. We haven’t had any paper towels for a while (Blynken the furry black fiend likes to unravel them and tear them to shreds) so I used my fingers to try to pull out the extra. But there was still a LOT of oil. Is this one of the reasons that this particular carrot cake was so spectacular?
Maybe. But we’ve talked about it and a carrot cake is really only as good as its icing. It has to be cream cheese icing too. With enough cream cheese that the icing has a bit of a tang.
I have altered R’s cream cheese icing recipe a little and it’s closer to the one that Elle (Feeding My Enthusiasms) described when she made her friend Lori’s cream cheese icing with Dorie Greenspan’s carrot cake.
Cream Cheese Icing
for so much cream cheese icing on an 8×8 cake, it will make you sick
- 0.5 c salted butter, softened
- 1 c cream cheese (with guar gum), softened
- 2-3 Tbsp plain yoghurt
- 0.5 c sifted icing sugar
- scant ⅛ tsp good quality pure vanilla extract
- Cream butter, cream cheese and yoghurt together.
- Using the back of a wooden spoon, cream in some sifted icing sugar to blend well. Taste to decide if you need more icing sugar. Add vanilla, but only if you have really good vanilla. (We do, because our fabulous neighbour made some using vanilla beans and vodka.) If the icing seems too thick, add more yoghurt.
- Slather on cooled cake.
:: Soften the butter and cream cheese by leaving them overnight in the oven with only the light turned on. Remove them from their packages first….
:: We’ve often omitted the vanilla entirely and the icing has still been good. But the amount I added this time simply rounded out the icing. When I tasted it, I would not have been able to say that vanilla had been added but known that there was a certain something else there enhancing the flavour.
- carrot cake recipes
» recipes from OUR kitchen: carrot cake (arguably the best)
» Canadian Living: carrot cake with cream cheese icing
» Feeding My Enthusiasms: Mostly Dorie Carrot Cake with Lori’s Cream Cheese Icing
- recipes from OUR kitchen
» dessert recipes
» cakes and dessert recipes
As T was savouring the last bite of cake on his plate, with the knowledge that there would still be cake left for the next night, he sighed happily. And then said, “When this is finished, will you make me another carrot cake?”
It really is awfully good. And I did make just half the recipe.
Yes. Of course! Life won’t feel complete if there’s half a recipe unmade….
Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake
– Jim Davis, Garfield’s Guide to Everything
C’mon Roger, let’s go home. I’ll bake you a carrot cake.
– Jessica Rabbit, Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)
- WHAT a finish for a perfect day!
- If it ain’t broke… (chocolate cream cheese icing)
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