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Carrot Cake w/ Cream Cheese Frosting

It’s been dubbed “Gloria’s famous carrot cake” but it’s not a big secret recipe, it’s the classic carrot cake from Cook’s Illustrated. (www.cooksillustrated.com). Cook’s Illustrated publishes the best food magazine around. They use scientific methods and many, many trials to perfect each recipe. They don’t use any ads, so as a consequence, it’s also the most expensive magazine out there, but it’s is definitely worth it. I’ve tried dozens of recipes and have only had one fail me (shortbread, and I think it was my fault, too impatient with the butter).

Simple Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
3/2003

If you like nuts in your cake, stir 1 1/2 cups toasted chopped pecans or walnuts into the batter along with the carrots. Raisins are also a good addition; 1 cup can be added along with the carrots. If you add both nuts and raisins, the cake will need an additional 10 to 12 minutes in the oven. Below are instructions for using a hand-held or standing mixer.

Makes one 13 by 9-inch cake

Carrot Cake
2 1/2cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12 1/2 ounces)
1 1/4teaspoons baking powder 
1teaspoon baking soda 
1 1/4teaspoons ground cinnamon 
1/2teaspoon ground nutmeg 
1/8teaspoon ground cloves 
1/2teaspoon table salt 
1pound medium carrots (6 to 7 carrots), peeled
1 1/2cups granulated sugar (10 1/2 ounces)
1/2cup packed light brown sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
4large eggs 
1 1/2cups vegetable oil , safflower oil, or canola oil

Cream Cheese Frosting
8ounces cream cheese , softened but still cool
5tablespoons unsalted butter softened, but still cool
1tablespoon sour cream 
1/2teaspoon vanilla extract 
1 1/4cups confectioners' sugar (4 1/2 ounces)


1. For the cake: Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 13 by 9-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line bottom of pan with parchment and spray parchment.

2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt in large bowl; set aside.

3. In food processor fitted with large shredding disk (see below for mixer method), shred carrots (you should have about 3 cups); transfer carrots to bowl and set aside. Wipe out food processor workbowl and fit with metal blade. Process granulated and brown sugars and eggs until frothy and thoroughly combined, about 20 seconds. With machine running, add oil through feed tube in steady stream. Process until mixture is light in color and well emulsified, about 20 seconds longer. Scrape mixture into medium bowl. Stir in carrots and dry ingredients until incorporated and no streaks of flour remain. Pour into prepared pan and bake until toothpick or skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking time. Cool cake to room temperature in pan on wire rack, about 2 hours.

4. For the frosting (See below for mixer method): When cake is cool, process cream cheese, butter, sour cream, and vanilla in clean food processor workbowl until combined, about 5 seconds, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Add confectioners' sugar and process until smooth, about 10 seconds.

5. Run paring knife around edge of cake to loosen from pan. Invert cake onto wire rack, peel off parchment, then invert again onto serving platter. Using icing spatula, spread frosting evenly over surface of cake. Cut into squares and serve. (Cover leftovers and refrigerate for up to 3 days.)

MIXER METHOD

7. Instead of Step 3 above, follow these directions: Shred carrots using large holes of box grater (you should have about 3 cups); transfer carrots to bowl and set aside. In bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment (or in large bowl and using hand-held mixer), beat granulated and brown sugars and eggs on medium-high until thoroughly combined, about 45 seconds. Reduce speed to medium; with mixer running, add oil in slow, steady stream, being careful to pour oil against inside of bowl (if oil begins to splatter, reduce speed to low until oil is incorporated, then resume adding oil). Increase speed to high and mix until mixture is light in color and well emulsified, about 45 seconds to 1 minute longer. Turn off mixer and stir in carrots and dry ingredients by hand until incorporated and no streaks of flour remain. Pour into prepared pan and bake until toothpick or skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking time. Cool cake to room temperature in pan on wire rack, about 2 hours.

8. Instead of Step 4 above, follow these directions: When cake is cool, mix cream cheese, butter, sour cream, and vanilla at medium high speed in clean bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment ( or in large bowl using handheld mixer) until well combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Add confectioners’ sugar and mix until very fluffy, about 1 minute

I like adding golden raisins, and walnuts. I also 1.5X the frosting, my friend Carol can’t get enough of it.

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