PRIZE-WINNING CLASSIC CARROT CAKE WITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

Recipe courtesy of The Bear Cupboard (http://bearcupboard.blogspot.com)

Adapted from Taste of Home February/March 2008

Rating:  10 out of 10


CAKE:

1 (8 oz.) can unsweetened crushed pineapple

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 tsps. baking soda

2 tsps. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. table salt

4 large eggs, room temperature

1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil

1/2 cup buttermilk (or 1/2 cup milk mixed with 1-1/2 tsp. lemon juice or vinegar)

2 cups peeled carrots, grated using coarse microplane grater

3/4 cup chopped toasted pecans or walnuts (1/2 cup for cake, 1/4 cup for garnish)


Heat oven to 350F.  Grease a 13x9x2" baking pan.  Line pan with parchment cut to fit.  Drain pineapple, reserving 2 Tbsps. juice for cake.  Discard remaining juice or save for another use.


In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugars, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.  In medium bowl, whisk together eggs, oil and buttermilk.  Stir in reserved 2 Tbsps. juice and carrots and 1/2 cup nuts with spatula or spoon, then stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients lightly, mixing till just barely combined.  Do not over mix.  Pour into pan.  Bake 35-40 minutes or till toothpick inserted near center returns clean.  Cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn out onto towel-lined wire rack and peel off parchment.  Cool thoroughly, then return cake to cooled pan before frosting. 


FROSTING:

12 oz. cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1-1/2 cups confectioner's sugar


In small mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth.  Add vanilla and 1/2 cup sugar and beat till again smooth.  Continue to add sugar gradually, beating well after each addition.  Spread frosting over cake top.  Garnish with remaining 1/4 cup nuts sprinkled over frosting.  Yield:  12 servings