Friday, December 19, 2008

Elyssa's Secret Carrot Cake

I love secrets. And I'm usually pretty good at keeping them. But, when I get the "green light" - watch out world! Especially when it comes to recipes. We all have our coveted family recipes and our secret ingredients that we can't live without. This one comes from Elyssa, and it sounds like a real time saver, particularly for people like me who are not so adept at baking.
I have decided to share my "secret" carrot cake recipe with the world. This cake has become a major hit among my friends and I'm pretty sure I get invited to parties and BBQs based only on this cake.

Why is it a secret? Because it comes from a cook book called "The Cake Mix Doctor." That's right...cake mix. (I can already hear my Mom saying tsk tsk). But I'm a busy woman. Sometimes I need some help...and you might as well be in on the secret. You would never know that cake mix was used in this recipe, mostly because of all the "real" ingredients like the fresh carrots and the homemade frosting. Enjoy!

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Serves: 16

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Baking Time: 30-35 minutes

Assembly Time: 15 minutes

  • Solid vegetable shortening for greasing the pans or Pam spray
  • Flour for dusting the pans
  • 1 package (3.4 ounces) plain yellow cake mix
  • 1 package (3.4 ounces) vanilla instant pudding mix
  • 2/3 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups grated carrots--about 5 medium carrots (if you own a food processor do yourself a favor and use it to grate the carrots. Otherwise a box cheese grater works well)
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the over to 350 degrees. Generously grease two 9-inch round cake pans with vegetable shortening or Pam spray. Dust with flour, then shake out the excess flour. Sent the pans aside.

2. Place the cake mix, pudding mix, orange juice, oil, eggs, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Blend with an electric mixed on low speed for 1 minute. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixed speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more, scrapping the sides down again if needed. The batter should look thick and well blended. Gently fold in the carrots, raisins, and nuts with a rubber spatula. Divide the batter between the prepared pans, smoothing it out with the rubber spatula. Place the pans in the oven side by side.

3. Bake the cakes until they are golden brown and spring back when lightly pressed with your finger, 30-35 minutes. Remove the pans from the over and place on wire racks to cool for 10 minutes. Run a dinner knife around the edges of each layer and invert each onto a rack, then invert each again onto another rack so that the cakes are right side up. Allow them to cool completely, 30 minutes more.

4. Prepare frosting (see below).

5. Place one cake layer right side up on a serving platter. Spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer, right side up, on top of the first layer and frost the top and sides of the cake with clean, smooth strokes.

6. Place this cake, uncovered, in the fridge until the frosting sets, 20 minutes. Cover the cake with waxed paper and store in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
  • 3 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Place the cream cheese and butter in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed until combined, 30 seconds. Stop the machine. Add the confectioners' sugar a bit at a time, blending with mixer on low speed until the sugar is well incorporated, 1 minute. Add the vanilla, then increase the mixed speed to medium and blend the frosting until fluffy, 1 minute more.

2. Use at once to frost the top and sides of the cake.

Sounds delicious. Thanks, Elyssa! Enjoy, everyone!

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