Holiday cake: Forget the eggs, bunnies really want carrots
Sarah Schweitzer’s Holiday Carrot Cake decorated with chopped walnuts and candied carrot confetti. PHOTO COURTESY SARAH SCHWEITZER
Rich, moist carrot cake dotted with walnuts and raisins is perfect any time of year, but especially at Easter.
Carrot Cake is a great cake for any time of the year.
Rich and moist, this cake looks nice on a Thanksgiving dessert buffet. For winter, you can sprinkle it with a bit of toasted coconut or snow-white coconut, freshly grated. For a summer birthday, made into petite cupcakes, it’s a great little showstopper at the end of any birthday dinner.
However, there is something so fresh about making this carrot cake in the spring, which makes it simply perfect for Easter.
Coarsely chopped walnuts; freshly grated farm carrots; sweet pineapple; plump, dark raisins and a mix of spices make for a wonderful holiday cake to crown any special spring dinner.
Decadent, rustic yet classic and adorned for a party, I present my Holiday Carrot Cake.
From our family’s table to yours, enjoy.
Holiday Carrot Cake
3 cups of shredded carrots
½ cup of raisins
½ cup of canned pineapple, drained (I buy and slice and dice the rings.)
½ cup of chopped walnuts
1 cup of brown sugar
1 cup of white refined sugar
½ teaspoon of coarse salt
1/teaspoon of pure vanilla
1½ teaspoons of cinnamon
2½ cups of all-purpose flour (I like King Arthur.)
10 ounces of canola oil
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1¼ teaspoon of baking powder
3 large eggs, room temperature
In a large bowl, combine shredded carrots, raisins and walnuts. Set aside. Sift all dry ingredients together in a separate bowl and set this dry mixture aside. In a stand-up mixer, combine oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Mix on medium high speed, until the mixture is lighter in color and a bit airy. Next add your dry-sifted ingredients slowly, but all at once.
Pulse a few times and then mix on lowest speed until just combined. Add carrot mixture, and mix on lowest speed until all is combined.
Take the bowl off the mixer. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix a little.
Measure out the batter into two equal parts. (I use my scale to measure exacts.)
Fold batter into two 9-inch cake pans that have been buttered and lined with buttered and floured parchment paper.
Bake at 350 F for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into cakes has a few moist crumbs. Place cake pans on a cooling rack until turning out onto the cooling racks to cool completely.
Cream Cheese Icing
2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, room temperature
2 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla
2½ to 3 cups of sifted powdered sugar
Place butter and cream cheese in mixing bowl. With the paddle attachment, beat on medium speed until smooth. Add sugar and vanilla. Mix on medium high speed until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. Decorate the cake, as desired, with candied walnuts, piped icing or marzipan carrots, garnish with chopped mixed nuts (about one cup) around the sides of your cake.
I like to use candied carrot ribbons or carrot confetti (recipe below).
(Maybe some time treat yourself and invest in a Lazy-Susan cake stand, so you and your family can have fun decorating cakes easily. Check out your local thrift store.)
1 large carrot, peeled and made into long strips with vegetable peeler
1 cup of white refined sugar
½ cup of water
Preheat oven to 300 F. Place sugar and water into a small saucepan. Heat on medium high until sugar is dissolved. Add carrots and turn down to simmer for 10-15 minutes, until carrots are translucent.
Remove from heat and let carrots sit for 5 minutes in the hot syrup. Using forks, place hot carrots onto a cooling rack for about 15 minutes until slightly dry. Put carrots on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
Bake at 300 degrees for about 25-30 minutes, until carrots are dry and pliable. (The carrots will firm up as they stand and cool.) Cool on the baking pan and then break into small pieces by hand. If you wish the carrots to be finer, use a wine bottle or a measuring cup to crush into carrot dustings.
Place in an air-tight container. Best if used within three days or freeze until ready to use.