Oh, carrot cake! When it comes to my first carrot cake…I feel exactly like a few months ago, when I prepared the Christmas Stollen… I did not like bread-like desserts, I hated to knead.. but I wanted to see what’s all the fuss about. I was absolutely sure that I will not be fascinated by the result… but still, it was a challenge and I accept it. Later on I realized that I have spoken too fast, and the Stollen turned out to be one of the most delicious desserts I have made.
No matter I learned my lesson, I was again very much skeptical about my new challenge – Carrot cake. Carrots in cake?!!?!? Why? I spent 1 year in the states, but not even once I got myself to try a carrot cake. I wanted to make up for the passed time and missed opportunities, so I prepared the cake at home. I don’t even know where to start….the preparation, the taste… everything is great about this cake. First of all the batter is very easy to prepare… all the hard work is in grating the carrots, but if you have a food processor, it will be even easier and faster for you. Then, you mix all the ingredients and bake. The batter is soft, moist, flavorful, light, sweet and delicious – I usually avoid having loafs or sweet breads, but when the batter comes as moist and flavorful as this one.. I just can’t resist. The cream cheese frosting on top completes this tasty addiction, perfectly.
For the cake layers:
150 ml. buttermilk
200 ml. olive oil
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
320 grams all-purpose flour
200 grams white sugar
180 grams brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
380 grams grated carrots (about 4-5 large carrots)
120 grams raisins, soaked in rum
130 grams Brazil nuts (add whatever you have on hand, or your favorite – walnuts, pecans, almonds)
50 grams mini chocolate chips (for garnish)
50 grams chopped Brazil nuts (for garnish)
For the Cream Cheese Frosting (Adapted from Sunshine’s kitchen):
75 grams (2.6 oz) soft butter
175 grams (6 oz) cream cheese
100 grams (3.5 oz) powder sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest of one orange or 2 mandarins
The cake layers:
Preheat your oven to 180 C (350F). Butter or spray two 6 inch cake pans (or one, but you have to divide the batter in two equal parts and bake them one after another).
In a large bowl add all wet ingredients: oil, eggs, buttermilk and vanilla.
In another large bowl add all dry ingredients: flour, sugars, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix with rubber spatula a couple times.
Add the grated carrots, raisins and nuts and mix, using the rubber spatula until well combined. Make sure not to over-mix the batter to avoid rubbery and dry layers.
Pour the batter equally into the prepared pans.
Bake about 40 minutes and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake layers, comes out clean.
Allow the cake layers to cool in the pans and then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
The Cream Cheese Frosting:
Add the butter to a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until fluffy. Add the cream cheese and beat to combine. Add the powder sugar, vanilla and mandarin zest and beat until fluffy.
Place one of the cooled cake layers on a cake stand (or plate). Spread a little bit of the cream cheese frosting over the layer. Place the second layer over the first.
Spread the remaining frosting over the top of the cake (you can add some frosting on the sides of the cake, but I wanted to have it just on the top).
Sprinkle with chocolate chips and chopped nuts.