Chai Carrot Cake

I’ve never really been into carrot cake. Or zucchini bread. Or anything that involves vegetables in my cake really. But this recipe for carrot cake is truly divine! It comes from Cooks Illustrated magazine, and after trying a few of their recipes, I can vouch for their thoroughness in finding the very best combination of ingredients to make the very best product! Try it! You just might find that you enjoy the cake AS MUCH as the icing!
Chai carrot cake.

CARROT CAKE
2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 tbsp. ground cardamom
1/2 tsp. salt
1 lb. (6-7 medium) carrots, peeled
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar lightly packed
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups safflower, canola or vegetable oil

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
8 oz. cream cheese, softened but still cool
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1 tbsp. sour cream
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 vanilla bean pods, halved and scraped
1 1/4 cups confectioners sugar

1.) FOR THE CAKE: Adjust oven rack to middle. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 13×9″ pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line bottom of pan with parchment and spray again.

2.) Whisk together flour, B.P., B.S., spices and salt in large bowl and set aside.

3.) In food processor fitted with large shredding disc, shred carrots (you should have about 3 cups.) Transfer carrots to bowl and set aside. Wipe out food processor bowl and fit with metal blade. Process granulated and brown sugars and eggs until frothy and thoroughly combined, about 20 seconds. With machine running, add oil through feed tube in a steady stream. Process until mixture is light in colour and well emulsified, about 20 seconds longer. Scrape mixture into medium bowl.Stir in carrots and dry ingredients until incorporated and no streaks of flour remain. Pour into prepared pan and bake until toothpick inserted into centre comes out clean, 35-40 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking time. Cool cake to room temp. on wire rack about 2 hours.

4.) FOR THE FROSTING: When cake is cool, process cream cheese, butter, sour cream and vanilla and vanilla bean seeds in clean food processor work bowl until combined, about 5 seconds, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add confectioners sugar and process until smooth, about 10 seconds.

5.) Run paring knife around edge of cake to loosen from pan. Invert cake onto wire rack, peel off parchment, then invert again onto serving platter. Using icing spatula, spread frosting evenly over surface of the cake.  Cut into squares and serve!

***NOTES:
~ I usually grate the carrots myself because I can’t find my shredding attachment… it’s a good workout for your arms!
~ If I don’t have parchment paper or nonstick cooking spray I just use butter to grease the pan.
~ My foods 11 teacher would have not liked the giant tunnel I had in my cake… I think I must have over mixed but it didn’t alter the taste, and that’s what this cake is all about!

 

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