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Light Carrot Cake

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I have a confession to make. I love food. More specifically, I love food blogs. My current favorites are The Pioneer Woman Cooks and Smitten Kitchen. I love the recipes. I love the food pictures (affectionately known as food porn). I just love it all. So, I decided, a few weeks ago, to start this food blog.

So, today’s recipe is a light carrot cake. And I ask for your grace. Because this was an absolute mess.

First of all, I didn’t know what to take pictures of. Do you really want to see this:

Or this (even though I think it’s kind of pretty):

But the real thing is, about halfway through, I stopped taking pictures. Because I added my flour mixture to my wet ingredients:

And I stirred and stirred and stirred. And it still looked like this:

And if you’ll notice in the upper left-hand corner, there’s still a blob of unmixed spices. So I started to panic. I had to get this in the oven RIGHT now, and after I added the carrots (no pics, I was freaking out), it was like dried out cookie dough. BAD. So, I dumped a can of pineapples in the food processor, pureed them, and added them until I had the right consistency. Then I threw the whole thing in the oven and sat in the corner and cried.

But you know what, it turned out okay. I took it to a dinner (because I am FOREVER trying new recipes for other people), and people seemed to like it. And I took it in to work the next day, and people seemed to like it. So I’m going to post the recipe here, and maybe you won’t need to have a panic attack. Let me know! And next time, there will be more, prettier pictures. And hopefully less rocking in the corner.

Light Carrot Cake
(adapted from the America’s Test Kitchen recipe)

You can either use the large holes of a box grater or the large holed shredding disk in a food processor for grating the carrots. Use a metal cake pan, not a glass or Pyrex pan, for best results. This cake is terrific with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar, or for a special treat, try it with our Light Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below).

Servs 16

  Vegetable cooking spray
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12 1/2 ounces)
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon table salt
3 large eggs
1 cup packed light brown sugar (7 ounces)
1 cup granulated sugar (7 ounces)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 pound carrots (about 6 medium), peeled and grated (about 3 cups)
And, if you’re me, a cup? a few cups? pureed pineapple, until you get the right consistency.

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a 13 by 9-inch metal baking pan with vegetable oil spray, then line the bottom with parchment paper.

2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugars together in a medium bowl until they turn thick and creamy, 1 to 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low and slowly whip in the oil until thoroughly combined and emulsified, 30 to 60 seconds. Sift half the flour mixture over the batter and gently mix in. Repeat once more with the remaining flour mixture and continue to whisk the batter gently until most of the lumps are gone (do not overmix). Using a rubber spatula, gently stir in the carrots. (It was here in the story that I dumped in the pineapple, just to get it to a consistency I could actually stir it and pour it into the pan. You may or may not have to do that.)

3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth the top. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 35 to 40 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking (do not overbake). Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert the cake onto a wire rack and remove the parchment paper. Flip the cake right-side up, and cool completely on a wire rack, about 2 hours, before frosting (if desired) and serving.

Light Cream Cheese Frosting

Be sure to mix the frosting by hand—an electric mixer or food processor will turn the frosting soupy.

Makes about 2 cups

12 ounces Neufchatel (1/3 less fat) cream cheese , softened but still cool
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar (6 ounces)

Mix the cream cheese and vanilla together in a large bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the confectioners’ sugar and stir until thoroughly combined and smooth.


About Brandy

I'm a full-time writer, part-time baker, and not-enough-time runner.

One response »

  1. Pingback: Light Carrot Cake @ And in the end…there is love.

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