Thursday, November 12, 2009

judy's carrot cake

This is my mother-in-law, Judy's, recipe for carrot cake. In all the years I've known her, I don't think I've ever seen her make it, but the whole family raves about it. More tellingly, in the half-dozen or so taste tests I conducted, this was the hands-down winner. It was the heartiest of the bunch - a dark brown cake with a heavy crumb. The recipe is written for a 9x13", single layer cake, but I have only made it in 6" or 9" round pans. It sinks in the middle every time- and I'm not really sure why, other than that it's a heavy cake - so I bolster it with extra frosting to make the top nice and flat, but whoever had a problem with a little extra frosting?

Unfortunately, I had a little trouble with the f-stop on these pictures, and then I had to give the cake to my client, so there were no do-overs. This one is a little fuzzy, but I really liked how the cake came out, so I'll share it here. I got the idea for the swirl from ButterYum's pretty cake.

Interestingly, the proportions are nearly identical to the one we make at the bakery, but the method is different. At the bakery, we run all the ingredients, save the walnuts, through the food processor until there are no big lumps, and then stir in the nuts. Judy's recipe is even easier: throw it all in a bowl, stir, and bake. I made some changes to the recipe: I changed the corn oil for a mixture of corn and canola, and I reduced it to a scant cup. (Because it's such a hearty cake, it actually works just fine if you want to substitute applesauce for up to 1/3 of the oil.) I also use a different cream cheese frosting recipe, though below, I've included the original frosting recipe and it's actually very good. Judy says the recipe was originally from the Getty Museum.

Judy's Carrot Cake (slightly modified)
1 cup oil (I use a combination of corn oil and canola oil)
2 cups (14 ounces) sugar
3 eggs
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded carrots
1 cup chopped walnuts
½ cup crushed pineapple

Preheat the oven to 350F. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Stir until blended. Line a 9x13" pan, or two 9" round pans, with parchment, pour in batter, and bake for 50-60 minutes or until the cake springs back when pressed lightly with a finger. You don't have to use parchment - you can just grease the pan - but this cake has a tendency to stick. Cool completely, and then remove the cake from the pan. Frost with old-fashioned cream cheese frosting or any cream cheese frosting recipe you like best.

Old-Fashioned Cream Cheese Frosting
6 ounces cream cheese (Judy recommends 6 ounces, not 3 , to cut the sweetness)
1 ¼ cups (5 ounces) powdered sugar
½ cup (1 stick) butter
1/8 cup crushed pineapple
1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, and butter until fluffy. Stir in pineapple and walnuts. Frost.

PS I forgot to mention the most important thing: I don't even like carrot cake, and this recipe may have made a convert of me!

Print carrot cake recipe.


Sandra Dee said...

WOW! This looks amazing...we are big carrot cake fans, so I'll have to give this a try....

Intel Xeon Westmere said...

beautiful cake and really nice combo of colours! :)

Patricia @ ButterYum said...

Beautiful!!! I love doing the swirly top - thanks for mentioning me and posting a link back to my blog.