Those of you who have been with us for a while know that we make a pretty big deal about birthday cakes here. I try hard to make good on birthday cake wishes, regardless of how challenging or esoteric they may be. So….when my birthday rolled around recently, my wife promised to do the same, and bake me the cake of my choice…what she ended up doing was to bake me the cake of my dreams.
Yeah, this one’s a keeper!
Carrot cake may not be the first confection that pops into most folks’ minds when they think of a birthday cake, but it is one of my absolute favorites, and as we’ve had so many chocolate cakes celebrating birthdays lately, I just couldn’t bring myself to order up another one.
Having this awesome recipe at hand also helps me to fulfill a promise I made to a new friend I met in Paris back in July. While attending a “Sunday Supper” at Jim Haynes’ atelier, I met a charming woman who, when she learned I was a food blogger, begged me for a really good carrot cake recipe. I guess she’s tried many and not been pleased, and as carrot cake is not indigenous to France, she struggles to find many recipes written with metric or weight measures that she can use without going through the hassle of conversion.
One bite of this lovely and I knew I had found the recipe to share with Edith. This is everything a good carrot cake should be, densely moist, richly spiced and not overly sweet. It is also something more than most good carrot cakes, largely due to its unusual and highly addictive frosting. Most carrot cakes I’ve had were made with a traditional cream cheese frosting, which I LOVE. This cake takes that basic frosting and makes it even better with the addition of whipped cream and crushed pineapple….it is SO GOOD! To be honest, I was a little concerned that the changes would make the frosting too loose to hold up well over time, but it has a beautiful structure and will hold up well as long as you store it in a cool place or your fridge. Not that it will me around for long.
My wife had to work a rather circuitous route through her family to put her hands on this recipe, which she remembered fondly from her childhood, my thanks to all who have guarded this family treasure over the years.
So Edith….this one’s for you, sorry it took me so long to post, I hope you enjoy it and I hope my metric conversions work well for you. Bon Appetit!
Cheers – Steve
for the cake:
- 4 large eggs (gros oeufs)
- 1 1/2 cups sugar (310 grams sucre semoule)
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil (350 ml huile vegetale)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (250 grams farine)
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon (10 grams cannelle)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder (10 grams levure chimique)
- 2 teaspoons baking soda (10 grams bicarbonate de soude)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (4 grams sel)
- 3 cups grated carrots (700 ml carrotes rapees)
- 1/2 cup raisins (70 grams)
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans (60 grams noix de pecan)
- 8 oz. (226 grams) cream cheese (Neufchatel)- room temperature
- 1 stick butter (113 grams beurre)- room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar (375 grams sucre glace)
- 1 cup heavy cream, whipped (250 ml, creme entiere, fouette)
- 1 cup of crushed pineapple (ananas broyes), well drained (225 grams)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (5 ml extrait de vanille)
- Prepare two 9" (23cm) round cake pans by buttering and flouring, making sure to knock out any excess flour before proceeding. In a standing mixer with a whisk attachment (or using an electric hand mixer), beat the 4 eggs until frothy, add the granulated sugar a little at a time until the mix thickens slightly and appears lemony in color. Gradually beat in the vegetable oil until incorporated. In a bowl sift the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Gently fold into the egg mix using a rubber spatula. When the flour is fully incorporated, fold in the grated carrot, raisins and chopped pecans until just incorporated. Divide into 3- 8" (20cm) round pans or 2- 9" (23cm) round ones. Bake at 350º F (180℃) for 25-35 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean.
- With an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar and cream cheese until well combined and very soft. In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream to stiff peaks. Fold the whipped cream into the butter and cream cheese mixture to lighten. Add the well drained crushed pineapple and 1 t. vanilla, mix to incorporate. Frost between the layers and over the outside of the cake.
- If not using immediately, refrigerate the cake for a while to help the frosting set.