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Course: Sweets
Keyword: Baking, Carrot Cake, Comfort Food, Desserts, Easter, Southern, Spring

Carrot Cake

A slice of classic carrot cake being removed from a whole carrot cake.
ACTIVE TIME: 40 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 2 hours 50 minutes
Yield: 1 (9-inch) cake
Carrots play a starring role in this moist and hearty cake, perfectly spiced with allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg and encased in a creamy and slightly sweet layer of cream cheese frosting.
England is the one country where carrot consumption beats out potato consumption. When sugar ran shot during World War II, the English did no surrender their "pudding." They just did what their ancestors did in the Middle Ages: They turned to the carrot. This is the period that gave birth to the carrot cake, the only dessert I know of based entirely on a taproot.
This recipe first appeared in Season 8 of Good Eats.
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Carrot Cake

  • Unsalted butter, for the pan
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for pan
  • 3 1/4 cups (6 medium) grated carrots, not peeled
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/3 cups plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 (8-ounce) block cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted

Specialized Hardware

  • Digital kitchen scale
  • Food processor
  • Digital instant-read thermometer
A slice of classic carrot cake being removed from a whole carrot cake.
ACTIVE TIME: 40 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 2 hours 50 minutes
Yield: 1 (9-inch) cake

Procedure

Carrot Cake

  • Heat oven to 350ºF. Butter and flour a 9-by-3-inch round cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside.
  • Put the carrots in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  • 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.
  • In the bowl of the food processor, combine the sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and yogurt. With the processor still running, drizzle in the vegetable oil. Pour this mixture into the carrot mixture and stir until just combined.
  • Pour batter into the prepared cake pan and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 45 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325ºF and bake until the cake reaches 205 to 210ºF in the center, about 20 to 25 minutes more.
  • 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 wire rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 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, beating until smooth between each addition.
  • Place the frosting in the refrigerator for 5 to 10 minutes before using.
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