I've been tweaking my carrot cake recipe for the past 12 years. Until now, the actual recipe has existed only as a single, aging piece of paper covered in stains and occasionally misplaced (only to be discovered after panicked searching).
This is my first attempt to send it out in the world to share, as well as preserve it for my own sanity. You gain so much flavor by macerating the shredded carrots and brown sugar before hand. The carrots release a good amount of juice, so you wind up with a denser, moister cake.
I used toasted hazelnut oil for this recipe, but any oil would do. I would like to try a version with coconut oil in the future.
4 1/2 C grated carrots
3/4 C brown sugar
1 C granulated sugar
1/2 C vegetable oil
1/2 C crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 C applesauce
2 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 drops orange essential oil
2 1/4 C all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 TBS ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 C chopped roasted walnuts
12 oz. cream cheese, softened
12 TBS butter, softened
1/2 to 1 C powdered sugar
2 drops lemon essential oil (optional)
- Combine grated carrots and brown sugar in a medium bowl to macerate. Set aside for an hour while you gather you other ingredients.
- Preheat oven to 350°. Butter two 10 inch cake pans. Cut a circle of parchment for each pan. Place the parchment in the pans and flour the buttered edges lightly. If not using parchment, butter and flour both pans.
- Beat eggs in a large bowl until lightened. Add sugar and beat for 1-2 minutes. Add oil, pineapple, applesauce, vanilla, and orange essential oil (if using) and beat until combined.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Fold flour mixture into wet ingredients and mix until absorbed.
- Add walnuts and reserved carrots along with their liquid and stir to combine. Pour batter evenly into prepared plans.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes or until they pass the toothpick test. Cool in pans for 10 minutes before removing. Peel off parchment bottoms and allow to cool completely before frosting.
- To make the frosting: Whip the butter until light and fluffy. Add cream cheese and beat continuously while sifting in the powdered sugar. Taste often and make sure not to over-sweeten! Add a drop or two of lemon essential oil if using.