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Carrot Cake

Last time I saw him in concert, Arlo Guthrie told the story of how his grades dropped in 6th grade, leading his family to send him to see a shrink. His mother had to go with him. He put pegs into holes, looked at ink blots, took all the tests. The shrink sent Arlo out of the room and talked to Arlo’s mother alone, then called him back into the room. The shrink said (according to Arlo), “Mrs. Guthrie, your son is weird. But having met you, I understand that he is reacting normally to his environment.”

That’s pretty much how I feel about my family and how I fit into it.

Point being, Josh Sucher once told me that my carrot cake was like Arlo Guthrie’s famous song, Alice’s Restaurant – It’s simple, it’s good, I make it every year (well, usually more often than that!), and it never fails to get applause.

This time, I made one last carrot cake as a going-away present for my other brother, Jordan, right before the move.

I have no idea how carrots, oil, and cinnamon manage to come together to create such sumptuous flavor, but they do. This is no fancy-schmancy high-brow sugar art, though I do love that sort of thing, too. This is the meat and potatoes of dessert. This is what I bake when I actually care more about making my family happy than about just playing or showing off.

Carrot Cake
For the cake
2 C flour
2 C sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 C cooking oil
4 eggs
3 1/2 C raw carrots (grated)
For the frosting
3 oz. cream cheese
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3 1/4 C powdered sugar
6 tbsp butter
1 tbsp heavy cream

For the cake!

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Sift the dry ingredients together, then mix in the oil, and then the eggs, one at a time, and lastly the carrots. Pour into a buttered and floured bundt pan.

Bake for an hour or so, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted. Let it cool for about ten minutes before trying to get it out of the bundt pan. At that point, turning the pan upside down on a plate and giving the bottom a few good whacks with a wooden spoon ought to do the trick. (This noise also serves to alert the family to the fact that the time for eating cake is finally imminent, after an hour of shooing them away every time they wander into the kitchen to investigate the smell.)

For the frosting!

Cream together the butter and cream cheese, then add everything else and mix well. If you can wait then long, frost the cake only after it has cooled. As you can see, I never manage to wait that long. I like my carrot cake hot and my cream cheese frosting molten.

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10 Responses to “Carrot Cake”

  1. Kate says:

    ARGH! This is so scary, but I was just flipping through Cook’s Illustrated yesterday looking for carrot cake recipes.

  2. MM says:

    Hell woman! How did you manage to make a healthy carrot cake look so decadent!! Drool!

  3. Danielle says:

    Kate – so, give it a try, and let me know how it goes.

    MM – What slander! My carrot cake may be many things – a testament to gluttony in its most cheering form, even – but it is by no means healthy. You want healthy, go eat some carrot sticks. ::grin:: I mean, did you see just how much oil and sugar makes it into this thing? But man oh man, is it good.

  4. Tania says:

    I think carrot cake is my favourite of homey cakes; it’s the kind I chose to bake for myself on my birthday. Never tried it hot or even warm, but I can imagine how scrumptious it would be.

    For some reason, bloglines wasn’t catching your updates, so I was wondering why you weren’t posting and was hoping nothing was wrong. Then I popped by and found that you WERE posting … I have some catch-up reading to do!

  5. Ivonne says:

    One of my little philosophies is that one can never have too many recipes for carrot cake. I have now added to my collection. Merci! Yours looks beautiful!

  6. rob says:

    I’m actually writing this while my wife is busy making carrot muffins. Carrot cake/muffins/loaf are maybe my favourite quickbreads.

    I’ll admit I like it straight, though, so no cream cheese icing for me.

    Hope your move is going well.

  7. Enderfem says:

    I think I will be making this for my birthday this year…or rather, since
    it is so near the bar exam, I think I will be asking someone else
    to make this.

  8. Barbara says:

    Try some lemon zest in the icing.

  9. [...] Desserts and Other Sweets: Other Aztec Marshmallows Basil Sorbet with Lemon Olive Oil Cabbage Strudel Cardamom Meyer Lemon Créme Brûlée Bubbles Carrot Cake Ginger Rum Churros with Milk Chocolate Dipping Sauce Lemongrass Saffron Soda and Ginger Ice Cream Float Maple Cream Truffles Marxipan Muffins Nutmeg Chipotle Tuiles Paprika Ice Cream Paprika Sticky Rolls Salty Oat Cookies Thai Iced Tea Ice Cream [...]

  10. Rose Fox says:

    This recipe makes two dozen overflowing cupcakes, or maybe thirty smaller neater ones. Bake 20 minutes at 350F.

    I love this cake so much.

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