This has become one of my signature cakes. I have had more people request this cake, than any other sweet, that I make. I first made this for my Mother, as her birthday cake, and if we are together, for her birthday, I still make it – something to bear in mind, if she is in your neighborhood. This is also a cake, which people like Kate, who does not like carrot cake, seem to love. You can also include it in a fancy tea party. It freezes very well, both with and without icing. I have also made this cake and baked it in disposable loaf pans, to give away at Christmas.
2 ½ cups of Flour
2 teaspoons of Baking Soda
1 teaspoon of Salt
1 ½ teaspoons of Cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoons of Nutmeg
1 teaspoon of Cardamom
½ teaspoon of Ginger
2 cups of Sugar
1 cups of Oil – corn or canola
2 teaspoons of Vanilla
2 teaspoons of Rum or Orange Liqueur
2 cups of shredded Carrots
1 large can of crushed Pineapple – drained
½ cup of Coconut
¼ cup of Currants
¼ cup of dark Raisins
¼ of golden Raisins
⅓ cup of Walnuts
⅓ cup of Pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees; grease and lightly flour two round cake pans. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and spices, and set aside. In a large bowl, mix sugar, oil, vanilla, rum, and eggs. Add combined dry ingredients, and incorporate the carrots, pineapple, raisins, currents, and nuts. Pour half of the mixture into each cake pan, spread it out, and tap down the pans, by picking them up and gently dropping them on the counter, two or three times. Place in oven, and bake for about 35 minutes, until a pick, inserted in the center, comes out clean. Let the cakes cool completely before icing.
When icing a layer cake, invert cakes onto a cooling rack. Inspect the cakes, and make the top layer, the cake that looks the best, upside down. The bottom of the cake will be flat and therefore what is iced for presentation. Invert one cake onto your presentation plate, frost the middle, and then invert the top layer.
Tear four pieces of wax paper, and gently slip them under the cake, over lapping each other, to protect the surface of your plate. Ice the sides, using a metal spatula or butter knife, and then ice the top. If you like, you can pipe a border around the edge of the cake. Remove wax paper, before putting the border between the cake and plate.
Drain the Pineapple well – you will be surprised how much liquid a can of pineapple has.
Add dry ingredients to creamed sugar, eggs, and oil.
Nutmeg! Fresh Nutmeg! I happen to have a few nuts leftover from Granada, which Ernesto brought me – the outside of the Nutmeg, is our old friend Mace!
Cardamom is one of my favorite spices – I use it in countless recipes – both sweet and savory. You can buy it in pods, little black seeds inside, or already crushed!
The cake batter will be very thick.
Until you begin to add carrots, pineapple, coconut and nuts.
I am not a huge fan of flowering pans, but this is a very dense cake, with nuts and raisins, which can cause a cake to stick. If you happen to add too much flower, once the cake has come out of the oven, and inverted onto a cooling rack, you can use a pastry brush, to remove excess crumbs and flower.
Cream Cheese Frosting
1 package of Cream Cheese – 8 ounces
1 stick of Butter – at room temperature
4 cups of Powdered Sugar
2 teaspoons of Rum or Vanilla
2-3 teaspoons of half and half
Whip butter and cream cheese, until blended and creamy. Begin adding powdered sugar, one cup at time, mixing until incorporated, add rum or vanilla and if needed, half and half or milk, for a smoother texture. This frosting will keep, in the freezer for a year.
Cream the butter and cream cheese together – it is best for them to both be at room temperature when you begin.
Your goal is a very thick, rich, and decadent icing!
In order to easily fill a piping bag, place the desired tip on the bag, and then place the bag over a fairly tall glass. You will want to fill the bag about three fourths, and then squeeze the air out of the bag, by applying pressure – piping the first few teaspoons of icing back into the bowl. You are then ready to decorate your cake.
Mother getting ready to enjoy a carrot cake!