Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Today is Andy's 39th birthday, and he requested a homemade carrot cake. I've never actually made a carrot cake before, and I was a little timid because the last few cream cheese frostings I've made were okay, but they weren't anything spectacular. I don't want to make okay frosting for my husband's cake. I want super yummy. So, I went researching, and landed on a recipe from Alton Brown, who I love and respect. Everything I've ever made of his turns out wonderful. Cake solved. But what about the frosting? I found some interesting information looking online. Most recipes for cream cheese frosting calls for the cream cheese to be softened, or at room temperature. This results in the frosting being too loose. The other no-no people usually do is to overbeat the cream cheese, which creates again a too-loose frosting, and alters the taste of the frosting. The key is to use COLD cream cheese and room temperature butter. Alton's recipe for cream cheese frosting didn't call for the cream cheese to be softened, so I decided to give his frosting recipe a try, hoping for the best.

The cake was a smash hit! Everyone loved it, and the frosting really did turn out SPECTACULAR! I should've known that Alton's recipes wouldn't lead me astray.

This is a RICH recipe, both the cake and frosting, so smaller pieces are better. Also, I refrigerated the cake so the frosting would hold together. I just took it out about 40 minutes before we were going to eat it so it could come to room temperature. Worked like a dream.

Carrot Cake (Alton Brown)
Unsalted butter, for the pan
12 ounces, approximately 2 1/2 cups, all-purpose flour, plus extra for pan
12 ounces grated carrots, medium grate, approximately 6 medium
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 ounces sugar, approximately 1 1/3 cups
2 ounces dark brown sugar, approximately 1/4 cup firmly packed
3 large eggs
6 ounces plain yogurt
6 ounces vegetable oil
Cream Cheese Frosting, recipe follows

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Butter and flour a 9-inch round and 3-inch deep cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. (**I used a springform pan, so I did not line with parchment paper.) Set aside.

3. Put the carrots into a large mixing bowl and set aside.

4. Put the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and process for 5 seconds. Add this mixture to the carrots and toss until they are well-coated with the flour.

5. In the bowl of the food processor combine the sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and yogurt.

6. With the processor still running drizzle in the vegetable oil. Pour this mixture into the carrot mixture and stir until just combined. Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 45 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325 degrees F and bake for another 20 minutes or until the cake reaches 205 to 210 degrees F in the center.

7. Remove the pan from the oven and allow cake to cool 15 minutes in the pan. After 15 minutes, turn the cake out onto a rack and allow cake to cool completely. Frost with cream cheese frosting after cake has cooled completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces cream cheese (COLD)
2 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
9 ounces powdered sugar, sifted, approximately 2 cups

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese and butter on medium just until blended. Add the vanilla and beat until combined. With the speed on low, add the powdered sugar in 4 batches and beat until smooth between each addition.

2. Place the frosting in the refrigerator for 5 to 10 minutes before using.


  1. I must say, I am not a good cake Will have to give another try :)

  2. This one is sort of fool proof, Bex - give it a shot...easy and so good!!