This carrot cake’s official name is “Best Carrot Cake,” but since I have yet to try it (already baked two of them but they’re for Easter so I’ll review it on Monday), I’m going to just call it “Carrot Cake” for now. Usually I approve a recipe before posting, but figured since it’s a popular cake on Easter, I’d better put it up now so that those searching for a recipe would have one, or another one if you’re like me and always searching for something better. :)
The recipe comes from Southern Living. I don’t know, it must be a southern thing, b/c I got the recipe for my favorite apple cake from Paula Deen (Grandgirl’s Fresh Apple Cake from Georgia) and she uses this same method of pouring buttermilk glaze over the cake when it’s hot out of the oven to seal in the moisture. This carrot cake recipe actually is really similar to the apple cake recipe (both have pecans & coconut and the batter has a similar texture) so if it’s anything near that one in taste, it’ll be a keeper.
Southern Living’s Best Carrot Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 large eggs
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups grated carrot
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup packed flaked coconut (or a 3 1/2 oz can)
1 cup chopped pecans
Cream Cheese Frosting *
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease the bottoms of 3 (9-inch) round cakepans, place a parchment paper or wax paper round in the bottom, then grease and flour the entire inside of all three pans. Alternately, if you’re just going to serve it out of a 9×13 pan, just grease the pan and you’re good to go.
Stir together first 4 ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
Beat eggs and next 4 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add flour mixture, beating at low speed until blended. Fold in carrot and next 3 ingredients. Pour batter into prepared cake pans.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. About five minutes before the cakes are done, start the buttermilk glaze (click the link above to get the recipe). Drizzle Buttermilk Glaze evenly over layers; cool in pans on wire racks 15 minutes. Remove from pans (I had to give the bottom a good bang while upside down on the cooling rack to shake each loose), turn right-side up again and cool completely on wire racks. The glaze will continue to soak into the cakes while they cool.
While cake is cooling, prepare Cream Cheese Frosting (use recipe above or see note below). Spread between layers and on top and sides of cake.
If you wish, you can press pecans or toasted coconut into the sides. If you’re feeling really ambitious, pipe carrots onto the cake using a tip 12 and leaves using tip 352 or 67 (I used the former). Starting at the top of the carrot, use heavy pressure and drag the tip downward, ever diminishing in pressure while moving the tip forward and back to make the ridges in the carrots. Finish the tip of the carrot by just pulling back with no pressure. Add the leaves–I don’t think mine are done right but I put three small on each one.
*The frosting recipe given here is pretty thin and not very condusive to a layer cake b/c it tends to ooze out the sides. My preferred recipe is much thicker and worked well when I used it on the second cake. To make it, cream one stick butter & one (8 oz) package cream cheese (both softened). Mix in a teaspoon of vanilla and a pound of powdered sugar (four cups) and beat until fluffy. *If you’re just going to serve it in the pan, the one give in the link above will work perfectly well.
Update April 6, 2009
This cake has now been tested and widely approved by grandparents, teens, mothers and fathers, Christians and heathens, health nuts and the obese, carrot cake haters (my husband) and carrot cake lovers (everyone else), dogs, cats and spider monkeys. Well, most of that is true anyway.
This is the moistest (is that a word?) cake I have ever had–and I made it on Tuesday, people. By rights it should have been dried out and awful by Easter but it tasted like I had just made it. (Of course you have to store it in the fridge or freezer.) It is VERY rich and VERY good. So yes, you should have made it and if you didn’t, it would behoove you to find a good excuse to make it soon. I suggest a potluck where a lot of people are attending b/c a little goes long way. And because you’ll eat the whole thing yourself if you make it for your family and I don’t want to be held responsible for your 20-pound weight gain.
Update 2/12/12: I won a red ribbon for this cake at the 2011 state fair!