We recently received a grocery bag full of carrots from our CSA. If nothing else, it was theperfect opportunity for a sweet indulgence that, when prepared well, has a lot of nutritional benefits: carrot cake!
When it comes to carrot cake, I’m somewhat of a purist. Nothing ruins a good cake more than huge chunks of pineapple and dry pieces of shredded coconut, yet, looking for a carrot cake recipe without all the bells and whistles it’s no wonder so many people hate it. I finally resorted to adapting the recipe from King Arthur Flour’s Whole Grain Baking.
Thanks to a few tips from the book, the result was amazing: after grating the carrots, pulse them in your food processor or chop them by hand. You will end up with a super-moist cake that is tender and much easier to cut.
The cake itself is not too sweet, so those of you watching the sugar will definately enjoy it alone. My husband, however, has a thing for frosting, so I wouldn’t dare leave it out. I brought this cake to my annual family reunion and my Aunt, a self professed “carrot cake hater” loved it! I did too.
Whole Wheat Carrot Cake
For the cake:
2 large eggs
¾ cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup packed light or dark brown sugar
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
2 cups finely grated carrots
1 cup chopped walnuts
For the frosting:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
1-2 tablespoons milk
Grease and flour a 9 inch square cake pan, or line with parchment paper.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
For the cake: Beat the eggs in a large bowl with an electric mixer. Add the oil and vanilla while the mixer is running. Gradually sprinkle in the sugars and continue to beat until you have a thick and foamy mixture. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix to a smooth batter. Add the carrots and nuts and stir until well combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake the cake for 35-40 minutes, just until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack. And frost with cream cheese frosting (optional).
For the frosting: Combine the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla in a bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the sugar gradually, beating well. If needed, add the milk, a little at a time until the frosting is spreadable.