There are gazillion recipes for a carrot cake in the internet, and I’ve tried many. But this recipe is my favorite among them all! It’s moist but not too oily, the spices are spot on and the frosting is just plain delicious. This recipe uses crushed pineapple which makes the cake really moist, with the help of the other ingredients.
My sister once told me that it is the cream cheese frosting that makes the carrot cake really good. In this recipe, instead of using the classic butter and cream cheese combination, I used softened cream cheese and whipped topping. No, not whipped heavy cream, but the commercial whipped topping (i.e. CoolWhip). I used to think that both of them are the same. Actually, they’re not. Whipped topping resembles whipped heavy cream, but it’s “almost” non-dairy. It’s mostly made of sugar, oil and other stabilizers. When I tried whipped topping for the first time, it somehow reminded me of marshmallow, and not of cream. And as most of you know, marshmallow is basically made up of whipping warm sugar. In this case, I chose whipped topping over heavy cream as it’s more stable to use when it comes to frosting cakes. Additionally, the light, and airy marshmallow flavor from the whipped topping combining it with cream cheese just truly appeals to me.
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 4 large eggs at room temperature
- 3/4 cup crushed/blended pineapple
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cup all purpose flour, sifted
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- about 2 cups grated carrots
- 2 8oz cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 8 oz whipped topping
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease or line with parchment paper 2 8-inch round baking pans.
Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ground cinnamon and ground ginger into a bowl twice. Trust me, not only will this remove any lumps and combines the dry ingredients, but it also prevents dense and dry cake.
Into another mixing bowl, whisk the 4 large eggs in high speed until light, pale in color, and “airy”. This takes about 5 minutes or so.
The eggs should look foamy and very light.
Into the eggs, while still whisking, slowly and gently incorporate the oil and the two sugars, try not to deflate the whipped eggs.
The whisk can retire at this point and the handy-dandy, ever reliable spatula can take over.
Sift the dry ingredients once more, but do this into the bowl of the egg mixture. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the mixture.
I have here 2 cups of grated carrots and 3/4 cup of crushed pineapple. I only had pineapple chunks, so I blended the chunks for few seconds. The addition of crushed pineapple truly makes a difference in the moistness of cake. I know some recipes call for applesauce, but I think adding crushed pineapple also does the trick. I do not like nuts on my cakes, so I completely skip walnuts on this recipe, but it can definitely be added if preferred.
Gently fold the grated carrots, crushed pineapple, vanilla extract and walnuts (if using).
Pour the cake batter into greased cake pans and bake in a 350 degree F oven for about 20-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Let the cakes cool completely before frosting.
While the cake cools, you can make the frosting. In a bowl, cream 2 blocks of cream cheese until creamy and smooth. If using a mixer, cream it for about 3 minutes. You don’t want to over-mix as you don’t want to introduce too much air in the cream cheese.
Into the bowl, sift the confectioner’s sugar and mix until combined.
Fold the whipped topping into the cream cheese mixture. If you like it even sweeter, you can certainly add more confectioner’s sugar into the frosting.
This results into creamy, light, velvety and delectable cream cheese frosting!
Once the cake has cooled completely, you can now assemble the cake and decorate it however you want.
And because I had some extra carrots, I decided to make use of them by using them as cake decorations. Using a sharp peeler, peel the carrot lengthwise. Try to do this as thinly as possible. The thinner the carrot peel is, the better for rolling. Another trick for easier rolling is to microwave the carrots for about 10-15 seconds, and it makes the carrot peels slightly pliable and much easier for rolling.
Gently roll them and use a toothpick to keep the carrot roll in shape.
Bake the carrot rolls in the oven at 375 degrees F for about 5-7 minutes. If you have a toaster oven, you can save from preheating the oven and just use that instead.
Once done, just gently pull out the toothpick and let the carrot rolls cool completely (shouldn’t take that long) before placing them on the cake. I used mint leaves, instead of piping the frosting to make leaves, as it compliments with the natural orange color of the carrot rolls.
Truly, how can you ever go wrong with a carrot cake using real carrots as a decor and with a taste so delicious…