Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Orange Carrot Cake

After my successful brownies, made without using a recipe, I decided to push my luck and try a no-recipe carrot cake, too.

Honestly, I did not like this at first, but as I ate it over a few days, it definitely grew on me. I think it took me some time to warm up to the orange flavor - it was definitely strong, and I remedied this by adding "orange" to the title. Of course, you can add less orange zest (or leave out entirely) for a more traditional carrot/spice flavor.

Note: This is a very dense, textural carrot cake - there are chunks of pecans and carrot throughout, and even the cake itself is a bit heavy. Honestly, my favorite thing about carrot cake (aside from the cream cheese frosting, of course) is the texture, so I didn't mind this at all. But if you want a lighter/smoother carrot cake, this may not be for you.

Chunky Orange Carrot Cake
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 3 large carrots, coarsely grated (about 3 packed cups)
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest (or to taste)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Cut parchment paper to fit in the bottom of two 9" or three 8" round cake pans. Grease or spray the pans (including the parchment liners), then dust with flour.
  2. Melt the butter and combine with the sugar in a mixing bowl.
  3. Mix in the vanilla and eggs until incorporated.
  4. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt and add half of this to the batter; add the buttermilk, then the rest of the flour mixture, stirring after each addition.
  5. Stir in the cinnamon and allspice, then the carrots, pecans, and orange zest. Mix by hand until well-combined.

  6. Pour evenly into prepared pans.
  7. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 20 minutes (the time is the worst part for me and recipes - I just bake "until done" and take a peek every once in awhile - I suggest you do the same).

  8. Frost with cream cheese buttercream, recipe below!

Basic Cream Cheese Buttercream

  • 2 8oz packages of cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Beat together the cream cheese and butter until combined and fluffy.
  2. Add powdered sugar, a little at a time to avoid a powdery explosion, and continue to beat until you have a creamy/fluffy consistency. You can add more or less sugar depending on your taste and how thick you want the frosting to be.
  3. Beat in the vanilla until combined.

1 comment:

  1. oh GOODNESS this looks too delicious! i LOVE carrot cake. too bad im the worst baker ever.