Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Carrot Cake

I was complaining yesterday that it was snowing- again- but look at what we woke up to this morning. What could be more beautiful than that? And, when I was walking down back to let out the chickens, the sun was reflecting off the snow in the most impressive way- it was like Disney magic dust everywhere! I retract all my complaints!!

Did you know that yesterday was national carrot day? Over the weekend I made a calender for February that had a quirky holiday/famous birthday or event for every day. (can you tell the winter doldrums have set in :-) I had done this when the kids were little, and thought it might be a good thing to do now that they are older to learn a little more history/ social studies type things. For instance, today is Charles Lindbergh's birthday, and as the kids were getting ready for school we had a discussion about his flying & that he invented the first artificial heart (I didn't know this- I guess the learning is not just for the kids!) Yesterday we celebrated by having carrot cake for dessert.

I made it straight from the recipe out of my tried and true Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book. Whenever I am looking for something basic & easy- I know I can find it here. I just looked at their website which has a modified recipe including pineapple- yum!

Best-Ever Carrot Cake

4 beaten eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1/2 tsp baking soda
3 cups finely shredded carrots (lightly packed)
3/4 cups cooking oil
1 recipe cream cheese frosting
1/2 cup toasted pecans (optional)

1. allow eggs to stand at room temp for 30 minutes. Meanwhile grease and flour 2 9x1 1/2 inch round cake pans. Set pans aside. In a large mixing bowl stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and baking soda.
2. In a medium bowl combine eggs, carrots, and oil. Add egg mixture to flour mixture; stir until combined. Pout into prepared pans.
3. Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden toothpick comes out clean. Cool on wire racks for 10 minutes then remove from pans and cool completely.
4. Frost tops and sides with cream cheese frosting. If desired sprinkle with chopped pecans. Store in refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla
5 3/4 to 6 1/4 cups sifted powder sugar

Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add 2 cups of the powdered sugar, beating well. Gradually beat in additional sugar to reach spreading consistency.

notes: I made the cake with the cinnamon, but not the pecans. I did use the oil- usually I substitute oil with apple sauce in baking, but I was in the mood for the real thing last night. I shredded the carrots in my Cuisinart with the shredding attachment fearing that the pieces would be too big (the recipe mentioned to be sure they were finely shredded or they would sink to the bottom of the pan) and that was fine- no sinking. The frosting I made just as suggested.
It was delicious!! I loved it, have not had a good carrot cake in years, and this certainly hit the spot. It got three out of four thumbs up from the kids too.

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