Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

serves 15-20

For the Cake

2 1/2 cups (12 1/2-ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

Pinch freshly grated nutmeg

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 pound carrots, peeled

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar

4 extra large eggs, room temperature

1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature

1 cup vegetable oil

For the Frosting

1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese (do not use low fat or nonfat)

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

3 cups (12-ounces) confectioners' sugar

1 Tablespoon sour cream


Carrot Curls (recipe follows)

Fresh Mint

For the Cake

Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350º F.  Lightly grease two 9" round cake pans, or one 9"x13" pan, line with parchment paper, grease the parchment, and flour the pan.

In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and salt; set aside.

Using a food processor fitted with a shredding disk, shred carrots (you should have about 3 cups); transfer to a large bowl.  Wipe the workbowl clean and fit the processor with the metal blade.  Process sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and buttermilk in food processor until frothy and thoroughly combined, about 20 seconds.  With processor running, add oil in a steady stream and process until mixture is light in color and well emulsified, about 20 seconds.  Transfer mixture to bowl with carrots, mixing well.  Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour until no streaks of flour remain.

Scrape batter into prepared pan(s), smooth top with rubber spatula, and gently tap on the counter to release air bubbles.  Bake cake until toothpick in the center comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes, rotating pan(s) halfway through baking.  Let cake cool completely in pan(s) on wire rack, about 2 hours.

For the Frosting

Using a stand mixer or hand held beater, cream the butter, cream cheese, and sour cream together until smooth.  Add the salt and vanilla.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.  With the mixer on low, gradually add the confectioners' sugar and mix until fluffy.

Run a paring knife around the edges of the cooled cake(s) to loosen from the pan(s).  Invert the cake(s) onto a wire rack, discard parchment, then turn cake(s) right side up onto a serving platter.  Spread frosting evenly over cake or frost the top of one layer, top with the second layer, and frost the top and sides of the cake.  Press the walnuts onto the sides of the cake if using.  Garnish with carrot curls if using and serve.  Cake can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.  Bring to room temperature before serving.  Enjoy!

For the Candied Carrot Curls

2 medium carrots, peeled

1 cup water

1 cup granulated sugar

Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat the oven to 250° F.  Line baking sheet with a silicon mat or parchment paper; set aside.

Peel long strips from carrots lengthwise until you begin to get wide slices, you should get about 15 strips.

Bring water and sugar to a boil in small heavy duty saucepan.  Add carrot strips and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.  Strain through a sieve, discarding syrup.  Let stand 15 minutes.

Wind carrot strips, one at a time, around the end of a wooden spoon handle, then slip off each curl and place seam side down on prepared baking sheet.  Place in the oven and bake until dry and crisp, about 60-75 minutes.  Allow to cool completely on baking sheet.

Carrot Curls can be made 5 days ahead and kept in an airtight container at room temperature.

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