First of all... thank you to Mary K, Ana-Maria Bell and Nicole Beaudoin for introducing me to carrot cake. I always thought I hated carrot cake. But oh, how wrong was I! oh, so very very wrong!
I always thought I hated carrot cake. I suppose I just never tried good carrot cake. I'm not a fan of walnuts in... anything ('sept the odd maple ice cream), and seeing as how lots of carrot cake has them in, it's sort of natural that I just assumed I wouldn't like carrot cake. Also, how desperate was the person who first put carrots in cake? Or... how pregnant?
Regardless, I'm not the sort of person to turn down trying something new (even if it's a something I think I probably don't like). Nicole brought a lovely carrot cake into the office one afternoon and since I'd not remembered the last time I ever tried carrot cake, I did (try it I mean). And it was better than I thought. Actually, it was pretty marvelous.
So then when little miss Ana-Maria made carrot cake cupcakes and kindly offered me one, I decided to go for it. Variety--you know, to confirm that I liked it. And I did (like it I mean).
Fast forward a few months to Bunny's hen party: Mary K shows up with a box of little cakes. One of these types of little cakes has carrot-shaped frosting designs. I had one of them for breakfast and guess what? I LOVED IT!
That's when I decided I had to make my own. So I went researching until I found THIS recipe via food gawker.
So tonight, my lovely wife Liz came over and we made this little carrot cake together ^_^ which turned out rather marvelous.
I exchanged oil for apple sauce (as I wasn't taking Ryan's tastes into concideration and I am rather found of the way apple sauce substitutes for oil as a healthy and moister alternative) and we added a bit more spice than we were meant. It was amazing. Moist, sweet, happy carrot cake.
Because it was so lovely and I'm sure to make it again soon, I want to preserve it (as a recipe and a little story). So here it is:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
2 servings of Motts' no-sugar-added apple sauce (i bought the individually portioned cups because they were on sale and i can take one to school or work instead of having a half full jar in the fridge)
2 large eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp all spice
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
2 cups of finely shredded carrots (large, organic, sweet, juicy)
Combine sugar and apple sauce in a large bowl until mixed well. Incorporate eggs. Add eggs one at a time, beating well (i just used a fork and it came out splendiferous).
Combine flour, spices, baking soda and baking powder together. Add dry ingredients to wet mix and stir until fully incorporated.
Feel free to add nuts, raisins, whatever. (Because it was my first go at carrot cake, I kept it really simple.)
Pour into two, greased 7" round pans (or 9" or square or cupcake tins or whatever you have lying around...).
Cook at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until the top is slightly brown or a toothpick can pierce the cake without any gooey cake insides stuck on it when you pull it out.
Cream Cheese Frosting
Beat 8oz of cream cheese with 1/2 cup (one stick) of unsalted butter until mixed well. Add 1 tsp of vanilla extract and 1 and 1/2 cups of confectioners sugar. Beat on low speed until combined. Add cream cheese, vanilla and/or sugar to taste. I added extra vanilla for a slightly less cheesy taste.
These amounts for the frosting will give you a thin layer for a two layer cake. You may choose to make more frosting for decorating. For the carrots I made, I used gel color to make a small amount of green and orange frosting, then pipped the design by hand (obviously, ha!).