Another fantastic cake in the recipe book, Home Cooking with Trisha Yearwood, is the Carrot Cake. I recently made this for a birthday for a work mate. It was quite a hit, so much so that my work mates have already requested a repeat!
I've made Carrot Cake before but this recipe "takes the cake", no pun intended. It is moist and has a dark tint to the six layers (yes, six). This can definitely be attributed to the fact that the carrots are pureed and not shredded.
Of course, the entire cake does take some time to bake and assemble but let me tell you, it is well worth every minute!
CARROT CAKE (Serves 12)
3 cups granulated sugar
1½ cups corn oil
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1½ cups walnuts, finely chopped
1½ cups frozen grated coconut, thawed
1½ cups pureed carrots (about 6 medium, boiled)
¾ cup crushed pineapple, drained
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease the bottom of three 9-inch round cake pans with cooking spray, line with circles of parch¬ment paper, and grease the paper with cooking spray.
With an electric mixer, cream the sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the sugar mixture. Add the walnuts, coconut, carrot puree, and pineapple, and beat until smooth. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool the layers in the pans for about 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of each pan and turn the layers out onto wire racks that have been sprayed with cooking spray. Cool the layers completely before frosting (see Note).
NOTE: After the layers have cooled, wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. They are easier to handle and cut in half the next day. Also, to handle as little as possible, put the first layer of cake on the plate you intend to store it on, slice it in half, ease a piece of parchment between the layers, and lift the top portion off. Frost the bottom slice, and then add the next layer. Continue until the entire cake is frosted.
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
¾ cup (1½ sticks) butter, room temperature
6 cups confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups walnuts, finely chopped
To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese and butter in an electric mixer and beat until smooth. Slowly add the confection¬ers' sugar and continue beating until fully combined. Add the vanilla.
Slice each layer horizontally in half using an electric knife. Frost each layer, the sides, and the top of the cake. Press the chopped walnuts into the sides of the cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Enjoy!