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Moist Homemade Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Homemade Carrot Cake
According to the food historians, the ancient Egyptians were the first culture to show evidence of advanced baking skills. Try to imagine baking cakes in stone ovens without running water or modern appliances. The round kind of cakes made with icing were first introduced around the middle of the seventeenth century.
Today's modern ovens and baking equipment makes it simple to produce a beautiful cake with little time invested. But to make a delicious cake even better, adding a few extra ingredients can make all the difference. Here, you'll see just how easy it is to make a moist, delicious carrot cake starting from scratch.
I made this cake from scratch, although, it can also be made with a spice cake mix or even a yellow cake mix with added cinnamon and nutmeg. The moistness comes from adding a can of crushed pineapple, fresh grated carrots, coconut, raisins and nuts.
My pantry is always stocked with all-purpose flour, granulated sugar and spices, along with fresh baking powder and baking soda. It's actually no harder to measure out the ingredients to make cakes from scratch. That reduces the amount of preservatives that are added to keep boxed mixes fresh.
Preheating the Oven
After gathering the ingredients, I like to prepare the cake pans before I mix the ingredients. This is a good time to turn the oven to 350° F.
Preparing the Baking Pans
- Using Crisco or solid vegetable shortening, grease three 9" pans with about a tablespoon of shortening per pan using a paper towel to wipe out any excess.
- Sprinkle about a tablespoon of flour into the pan and dust it around, shaking out the excess flour. Set the pans aside.
- Remove any excess flour by turning the pan upside down and tapping gently on the bottom of the pan.
Preparing the Carrots
Begin by peeling the carrots with a potato peeler to remove the brown, outer edges. I do this over a paper towel in the sink to make the cleanup easy.
Next, shred the carrots using a flat or box shredder. A food processor also works for this task but I rarely use mine.
Giving the raisins a hot water bath before adding them to the mix makes the cake really moist. I do this ahead of time, using a microwave safe measuring cup to heat a small amount of water. Then, I add the raisins and let them soak while I'm working on the other ingredients. Be sure to drain the raisins before adding to the mixture.
Soaking the Raisins
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 3 medium carrots - grated
- 1 can crushed pineapple (15 oz.)
- 1 1/2 cups liquid shortening
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3 eggs
- 1/4 cup coconut
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup pecans (chopped)
Mix Together the Dry IngredientsClick thumbnail to view full-size
- Mix the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl - sugar, flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt
- Add 3 eggs, one at a time, to the dry mixture blending after each egg.
- Add the liquid vegetable shortening
- Add the vanilla extract and mix on the low speed of the mixer.
- Add one cup of canned pineapple slightly drained.
- Blend in the carrots.
- Stir in the shredded coconut (optional)
- Stir in the pecans (or nuts) by hand.
- Blend all ingredients until thoroughly mixed .
Pour the batter into the greased and floured pan dividing the mix equally between them.
Baking the Cake Using 9 Inch Pans
Baking time for three nine inch pans is about thirty-five minutes (35 min). My oven won't fit all three pans, so I bake the first two and then bake the third pan separately.
This is a heavy cake and will fall in the middle if not completely done. Make sure the top of the cake springs back when touched lightly with the fingers.
Set a timer for ten minutes (10 min.) after baking before turning the cake out of the pans onto wire racks.
Cook Time for 13 by 9 inch pan
Ingredients for the Cream Cheese Icing
- 4 oz package cream cheese, softened
- 1 stick (1/4 lb.) butter, softened
- 1 box Confectioner's sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Instructions for the Icing
- Blend the cream cheese and the butter together until light and fluffy.
- Add the sugar a little at a time until it forms slight peaks when removing the beaters.
- Add the vanilla extract and blend until it is a good consistency for spreading on the cake.
If the icing is too dry add a teaspoon of milk. If it's too moist add a little more powdered sugar.
Invert the first layer onto a plate round side down toward the plate. Ice only the top.
Invert the second layer, round side down on the icing, then ice the top of the second layer turning the layer around until the cake looks even from all sides.
The third layer looks best if the flat side or the bottom is down toward the other layers. Rotate it until it seems even, then ice the sides of the cake first. Continue on to the top of the cake, smoothing all edges.
For this birthday cake, I combined recipes from two different sources and made subtle changes to create my own version. I used many of the ingredients from "The Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook" which I've owned since the early seventies. Other ingredients came from the carrot cake recipe in "The Pantry Cookbook," a collection of delicious treats they serve in their restaurant in downtown McKinney, Texas.
© 2013 Peg Cole