Steve and I have had a whirlwind Summer. We shot a two-day fashion shoot in LA, hosted my little sister for a week, shot a wedding together, took on several new freelance design clients, launched a campaign for Heaven Can Wait, participated in restaurant week, went to amazing Swell Season, Ray LaMontagne and David Gray concerts, I attempted a cleanse that almost killed me (at least that’s how I felt), we started a much-needed dog training session for our furry heathens and all in all have been eating out alot! When we do have a meal at home, it seems like it’s been frozen burritos or cereal – gourmet, I know. It’s been hectic but we’ve had a blast and are looking forward to a little rest and relaxation on our upcoming San Diego getaway.
During all this craziness, Steve and I celebrated his birthday with a quiet night in. I cooked a traditional Italian pasta called Cacio e Pepe and I baked him mille feuille for dessert. Although it was delicious I almost wished I would have gone with one of his favorites, spiced carrot cake. I’ve made it for him in the past for a breakfast birthday cake because in his world, cake is the only thing that you should have for breakfast – especially on your birthday!
I was introduced to this recipe by my close friend Chris. He is my baking best friend and is just as talented as Martha Stewart when it comes to baking and decorating. He has been known to bake and pipe frosting into the wee hours of the morning just so his Santa Cake was perfect for a holiday party. He brought this glorious dark and sweet cake into an office function and I instantly fell in love. We sampled small slivers of it for hours trying to decipher what made this better than any carrot cake we’ve ever had. We then went on a carrot cake baking and white wine drinking bing where we perfected the recipe, making loads of muffins in the process. It’s so delicious that dare I say it almost rivals the best cake ever.
This isn’t your ordinary carrot cake, I omit the raisins and the nuts because who needs them in a cake anyway! The batter is chock full of juicy sweet carrots, apple sauce and a generous helping of cinnamon. Low and slow is how this baby likes to cook which aids in the caramelization of the sugars in the cake. The color is so dark once it comes out you would have thought there was molasses in the batter. The outside of the cake is chewy and rich and the inside is soft, moist and mouth-watering. Topped with a small dollop of cream cheese frosting and you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who won’t scarf down a piece…or two.
My copy of this recipe is so transparent from using it so often that I have no idea where the original recipe actually came from. I’ve tried finding the original online without much luck. I can’t take credit for this masterpiece but I’m happy to share it and have it preserved online just in case my oil-soaked version disintegrates one day.
Spiced Carrot Cake
Prep-time: 15-20 minues, Cook-time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
This makes a very large cake.
3 cups flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 medium carrots grated
1 cup applesauce
1 80z package of cream cheese softened
3/4 stick of butters softened
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar
1. Preheat your oven to 325º. Grease and flour a bundt cake pan
2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt
3. In your stand mixer, beat eggs slightly; mix in oil and vanilla, add carrots and applesauce and mix until barely incorporated.
4. Add flour mixture to carrot mixture and mix until flour is just moistened.
5. Spoon batter into pan, spreading evenly and bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until a toothpick pick comes out clean. Cool cake on a wire rack for ten minutes before sliding a slender spatula around the edges and removing it from the bundt pan.
For the Frosting:
1. Cream the butter, cream cheese, lemon juice and vanilla together. Slowly add the powdered sugar until incorporated.