Do you have a go-to carrot cake recipe? If not, now you do. Seriously, this is the one. I found the recipe on The Joy of Baking website. If this recipe is an indicator, I will be trying more from their site.
I made cupcakes instead of a whole cake, simply because I was taking them to Bible study and wanted something easy for people to pick up. But I might make the whole cake for Easter. My granddad loves carrot cake. I can’t wait to take him some of these. *UPDATE* I did make the whole cake a few days later and it turned out wonderfully! Here it is:
The frosting is divine. Cream cheese frosting is good, but MAPLE cream cheese frosting? WOW. I got the recipe for the frosting from Smitten Kitchen. There is a recipe for carrot cake on that site too and it is probably excellent. But I was more interested in the one from Joy of Baking, mainly because the one for Smitten Kitchen contained ginger and nutmeg. I didn’t want this to taste like a spice cake so I opted for the recipe that only contained cinnamon.
And I think maybe it is a tad healthy since it has over 2 cups of shredded carrots in it. . . I’m going to ignore the sugar content. Maybe if I called them muffins they would be healthier? 🙂 A girl can at least be delusional every now and then. . .
So, go make this cake or some cupcakes. Your family will love them for Easter or maybe just a fun after school snack.
Carrot Cake (cupcakes) with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting (Gluten Free)
1 cup pecans or walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
3/4 pound raw carrots (about 2 1/2 cups finely grated)
2 cups all-purpose flour (Or your favorite Gluten Free baking mix. I used Pamelas with great results!)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
1 cup vegetable or canola oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup raisins (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Butter or spray two – 9 x 2 inch cake pans and line the bottoms of the pans with a circle of parchment paper. Or if making cupcakes, line with cupcake liners and spray with non stick spray.
Toast the pecans or walnuts for about 8 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant. Let cool and then chop coarsely.
Peel and finely grate the carrots. Set aside.
In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and ground cinnamon. Set aside.
In bowl of electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the eggs until frothy (about 1 minute). Gradually add the sugar and beat until the batter is thick and light colored (about 3 – 4 minutes). Add the oil in a steady stream and then beat in the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat just until incorporated. With a large rubber spatula fold in the grated carrots, raisins, and chopped nuts. Evenly divide the batter between the two prepared pans and bake 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Or evenly divide batter between all your cupcake liners and bake for apporox 12-15 min or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. After about 5 -10 minutes invert the cakes onto the wire rack, remove the pans and parchment paper, and then cool completely before frosting.
To assemble: place one cake layer, top side down, onto your serving plate. Spread with about one third of the frosting. Gently place the other cake, top of cake facing down, onto the frosting, and spread the rest of the frosting over the top and sides of the cake. If desired, press toasted and finely chopped nuts on the sides of the cake and decorate the top of the cake with marzipan carrots (see below). Cover and refrigerate any leftovers.
If making cupcakes, let them cool completely before frosting with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe below).
Cake Serves 10 – 12. or 24 regular sized cupcakes
Two (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
In a mixer beat all the ingredients on medium until fluffy. Chill the frosting for 10 to 20 minutes, until it has set up enough to spread smoothly or pipe onto the cupcakes.