homemade carrot cake

Trying to find a real carrot cake recipe is not as easy as you would think.  My Mother-in-Law was having a big birthday party last Sunday and that was her only request.  Real carrot cake.  With real ingredients.

I have never been a fan of chunky carrot cake.  Chunky as in… no visible carrot pieces.  No nuts.  No raisins.  Never ever ever raisins in a cake.

I much prefer the box mix.  Because really, its all about the cream cheese frosting anyway.  As long as there is a cake with some sort of spice flavor under it I am good.

Chunky Carrot Cake with the BEST Cream Cheese Frosting!

 But I was wrong.

So, so so so wrong.

After searching for some time, I found a reliable source for the recipe.  My friend Shaina from Food For Your Family has a beautiful, real and raw site.  Raw in terms of ingredients (she uses real food… unlike me who just professed a love for box mix) and in terms of writing.  (Seriously, I have never been emotionally moved by a food blog as much as I am with hers.)

I changed up a few key ingredients simply because I did not have any on hand, but for the most part tried to follow her great recipe.  If you want the original in all its glory, be sure to visit her site!!

Chunky Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Rosettes!

 

For the exterior I did a version of my original Rosette Cake.  My beautiful mother-in-law was turning 67 (she really doesn’t look a day over 45!) and so piped out 67 flowers.  Some are with the 1M tip (remember you can always use a 2D tip in place of the 1M) and the rest are with #27 tip from Wilton.

Chunky Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Rosettes!

 

This is my favorite Cream Cheese frosting.  (Its the best ever.  Don’t click that link.  You will be ruined for all other cream cheese frostings forever.)

Homemade Carrot Cake

Ingredients

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 ¼ cups vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 1/4 cups grated carrots

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare two 8-inch round baking pans.
  3. Beat the sugar, oil, vanilla and eggs in mixer until it is a light yellow.
  4. In a separate bowl sift together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt.
  5. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add in the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.
  6. Remove bowl from mixer and fold raisins, nuts, and the carrots.
  7. Divide the batter equally between the pans. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Allow the cakes to cool completely on a wire rack.
  9. Cover in cream cheese frosting.
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Normally I would try to take a pretty picture of the cut-into cake, but since this was for an actual party there wasn’t that opportunity.  Plus this cake is so gloriously chunky and crumbly that there would be no such thing as a ‘beauty shot’.

I did grab a quick picture of my piece though, just before I gobbled it down in 30 seconds flat.

Chunky Homemade Carrot Cake with the Best Cream Cheese Frosting

 

Man it was good.  The flavor was  delightful.  The texture was exquisite. The last bite gratifying.

I think I just talked myself into making another one.

Velvet Spice Cake

UPDATE: Tutorial HERE

I have been wanting to make this cake since last year, when I first saw Martha Stewart do her  cake.

However, I had to give it a little twist!

So I started with the recipe.  Since I knew that this cake would be covered in many layers of sweet glaze icing, I opted for a less sweet spice cake.

On its own, I would even venture to say that this cake has a slightly salty flavor mingled in with the cinnamon sweetness.

Good thing I am pouring many layers of sugar over top!

But I have got to mention the texture!  I just had to name it Velvet Spice after my fist bite.  Velvet it quite possibly the most perfect word ever when describing this cake.

Velvet Spice cake modified from AllRecipes.com.

Velvet Spice Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon all spice
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 eggs

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare chosen pans.
  3. In a mixer, combine together flour, cornstarch, sugar, baking powder, soda, salt, all spice, and cinnamon. Add shortening and milk and mix on medium for about two minutes.
  4. Add in eggs, one at a time, mixing for a few seconds after each egg. Pour batter into prepared pans.
  5. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until done.
  6. (My pumpkin pan is about six inches across and 3 inches deep.)
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I used my sugar cookie frosting recipe for the white glaze and ended up using an entire bag of powder sugar.

I also wanted to add some pumpkin seeds.

Not just any ole pumpkin seeds… but candied pumpkin seeds!

Candied seeds recipe modified from AllRecipes.com.

Candied Pumpkin Seeds

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds, rinsed and dried
  • 6 tablespoons white sugar, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon all spice
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
  2. On a parchment lined baking sheet, spread pumpkin seeds in a single layer.
  3. Toast for 30-45 minutes stirring occasionally. Seeds should appear dry and slightly toasted.
  4. In a bowl, combine two tablespoons of sugar, salt, cinnamon, and all spice.
  5. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium high heat. Once butter is melted, add pumpkin seeds and remaining four tablespoons of sugar.
  6. Stir constantly until sugar dissolves. (anywhere from 1-4 minutes.)
  7. Remove from heat.
  8. Pour seeds into the bowl with the spiced sugar and stir until coated.
  9. Transfer seeds to parchment lined baking sheet and spread in a flat layer.
  10. *Note: If you like clumps of seeds, there is no need to spread in flat layer.
  11. Make sure seeds are cool before eating.
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As well as decorating the base of the Velvet Spice Cake, I also carved out a center portion of the cake and added some inside!

This cake is such a play on textures and flavors.  The crunchy candied pumpkin seeds are a unique and delightful compliment to the slightly savory Velvet Spice Cake.  Its one of those, “I didn’t know I wanted to eat this until I ate it now I want to eat it a lot” cakes.

Perfect for any fall celebration!