Saturday, April 12, 2008

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

Today is my daughter Olive's first birthday and I wanted to make something special for her. I flipped through many many recipes when trying to decide what to make for her first real taste of sugary yumminess (that I know of... I'm throwing a suspicious look in the direction of Grandpa). Perhaps we are a bit strict in this department, who knows, but we try to eat as much organic, healthy, fresh foods that are made at home that we can afford. We feel it is especially important to try to do this for our children. So while birthdays are certainly a time to celebrate, a healthy spin is welcomed if there is one. I based this recipe from one by Martha Stewart of all people and all I'm going to say is uhh... this cake didn't make it to see the light of tomorrow's day! I must admit that this recipe particularly strikes my fancy, as they say, because it allows me to do two of my three favorite things in cooking - zesting and making frosting! (my third being chopping onions). I am officially putting my Jenny-guarantee on this recipe for enjoyment.

Baby Carrot Cake

4 medium carrots, grated
1 cup raisins
1 cup walnut pieces
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cups vegetable oil
4 large eggs
shortening and flour for cake pans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two standard sized cake pans. Set aside

Grate the carrots using a box grater or food processor if you have one. Measure 2 cups of carrots and place in medium mixing bowl. Add raisins, walnuts, applesauce, zest and juice from the lemon and toss together.

With your mixer, pulse together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. With motor running, pour in oil and eggs; process until smooth, scraping sides. Add carrot mixture; pulse. Pour into pans; bake about 40 minutes, until tester inserted in middle comes out clean.

Cool in pans on rack for 20 minutes. Remove; cool completely before adding frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz
cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup cup butter
2 or 3 tsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar

Beat cream cheese, butter, milk, and vanilla with your mixer on low speed until it is smooth and creamy. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time. I have learned the hard/messy way not to add too much powdered sugar and once. Talk about a sugary cloud! Anyways, beat this on low speed until it is smooth again.

This recipe makes enough to frost a two layer 8 or 9 inch cake or one 13 x 9 inch sheet cake generously. Be sure to store these cakes in the fridge as the cream cheese frosting will spoil otherwise!

Jenny's Note: I made three teensy cakes in 6x2 pans because this was for a baby. Also Olive is wild about strawberries so that is why I added them to her cake. Personally, I wouldn't add them but when it's your birthday why not get the cake you want?


Nick said...

If you're looking for a healthy carrot cake, I found this recipe for Healthy Carrot Cake a while ago. I can't vouch for it, but it certainly sounds delicious and super healthy! I would use sugar instead of Splenda, but still, pretty darn tasty looking! Yours sounds great as well, a perfect birthday cake!

- The Peanut Butter Boy

jenny mae. said...

yes i was not wowed by the sugar content of this but i was glad that it was MOSTLY healthy.

splenda gives me the heebie jeebies! i won't do artificial sweeteners.

Anonymous said...

you could always sub the splenda for some sugar and then a pinch of stevia.

Kristin Jo said...

I was thinking the cookbook, "simply in season" might be something you'd be interested in. Its focus is on eating local & in season and its compiled by seasons. Plus all the recipes are from scratch and wholesome. I have made several things from it and they have all been wonderful. Amazon it to check it out.
; )

jenny mae. said...

holly - i've always wanted to experiment with stevia. several local co-ops sell it in the bulk section (but only in little packets, what the heck?). no recipes show how much to use though so im scared of over/under sweetening. still though - a natural sweetener like that would be ideal!

kristin jo - linked off of my other blog is a "books im reading" section and i currently have something like that in-hand. i think it is a 4 volume cookbook separated by season. i only checked out the Spring one though.