*We interrupt your regular scheduled programming for this special report. A blog post pertaining to one delicious Peking Duck will resume next time.*
In our lab, it used to be that SP would kindly bake us all cakes or pies on our birthdays. However, since her departure, we’ve had to change to a buddy system. Last week, it was my buddy Debbie’s birthday. We, as a group, had gotten into a routine of buying fancy cakes. Not that that’s bad or anything, but I thought I’d bring it back to the roots and bake a cake from scratch. Also, one of my undeclared resolutions for 2011 is to get over my fear of/aversion to baking. Well, there, I’ve just declared it, haven’t I?
The first cake I thought of was my sister JS’s carrot cake. I haven’t had it in years but I still remember it as one of the tastiest homemade cakes ever. So, I asked her for the recipe (see below). In addition to her notes, I’d also like to point out that I think she once made it with only one cup of sugar instead of two. I think you can get away with it because: 1) the frosting is very sweet, and 2) the pineapple and coconut flakes are also sweet (well, and the carrots too, duh!). (UPDATE 5/29/11: I made the cake with 1.5 cups of sugar and it was great! I also used 1 cup unbleached flour, 1/2 cup wheat flour, and 1/2 cup flax seed.)
One interesting thing was that I compared JS’s recipe to the one found in my Gourmet Cookbook. They were eerily similar, except that the one in the Gourmet Cookbook asked for twice the amount of vegetable oil. Ewww. Trust me, you can get away with just 3/4 cup. Also, make sure the cake and frosting are cool before you frost the cake. Otherwise, you’ll end up with an ugly (but still incredibly delicious) cake.
JS’s Best Ever Carrot Cake
2 C flour (note 1)
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp Cinnamon
½ tsp. salt
3 eggs, beaten
¾ C veg. oil
¾ C buttermilk (note 2)
1 1/2 C sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 8 oz can crushed pineapple, drained
2 C grated carrots (about 3/4 lb)
1 3 ½ oz can/bag of flaked coconut
1 C coarsely chopped nuts (I used walnuts)
*JS’s Note 1: you can also try: 1/3 white, 1/3 wheat , and 1/3 flaxseed; or 1 C white, ½ wheat, and ½ flaxseed. I haven’t tried this mix with the carrot cake, but it seems to work ok for waffles.
*Note 2: Buttermilk substitute – Almost a cup of milk (1 TBSP short) + 1 TBSP of lemon juice or white vinegar
1. Cream oil & eggs together.
2. Add sugar, vanilla, buttermilk, cinnamon. Mix.
3. Add carrots, coconut, nuts, pineapple. Mix thoroughly.
4. Add flour, baking soda, & salt.
5. Bake at 350F for 40-50 min.
Cream Cheese Frosting
½ C butter, softened
1 8oz package cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla
2 C powdered sugar
1 tsp orange juice
1 tsp grated orange peel
Mix all ingredients. Refrigerate until frosting is set to frost the cake.