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The Best Carrot Cake Recipe

My mother – the go-to-gal for all of my baking questions – passed along her recipe for creating a carrot cake that is denser and moister than any I’ve ever sampled.  Her secret step is to cook the carrots prior to assembling the cake. If this doesn’t beat back the winter blues, I don’t know what will. It’s simply the best carrot cake recipe ever. PS: This pairs beautifully with Herb and Garlic Chicken with Roasted Figs.


The Moistest Carrot Cake Ever
Serves 10

Note: Initially, the icing will be a bit runny. That’s okay. Just pop it in the fridge for about half an hour, until it’s firm enough to spread. Don’t leave it in too much longer than that though or it’ll get too firm and you’ll have to wait for it to warm up a bit at room temperature.

Ingredients for the cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour – from stock
2 teaspoons baking soda – from stock
2 teaspoons baking powder – from stock
½ teaspoon salt – from stock
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon – from stock
1 ½ teaspoons ground crystallized ginger, or 1 teaspoon regular ground ginger – $3.99 for crystallized
3 large eggs, lightly beaten – from stock
1 cup vegetable oil – from stock
2 cups sugar – from stock
1 cup pecans, chopped finely – $4.99
1 cup shredded coconut – $2.99
1 ½ cups carrots, peeled and cut into ½ inch slices – $1.49
8 oz. can crushed pineapple in natural juice, well drained – $2.39
2 teaspoons vanilla – from stock

Ingredients for the frosting:
1 lb. cream cheese, softened – $5.78
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened – from stock
3 cups confectioner’s sugar – $1.09
1 teaspoon vanilla – from stock
½ cup cream of coconut or ¼ cup whole milk – from stock (for milk, which is easier to find)
Grand Total assuming well-stocked kitchen: $22.72
Cost per serving (approximately 10 servings): $2.27

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Butter or grease a 13×9 inch pan. Cut a piece of parchment paper and lay it along the bottom of the baking dish and spray it with cooking spray.

2. Place the carrots in a microwave safe dish, cover with water and cook on high for 8 to 10 minutes until soft.  Drain and transfer to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and puree.

3. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, and salt.

4. In a separate bowl. Whisk the eggs and then beat in the sugar and oil.

5. Stir the dry mixture into sugar and egg mixture.  Combine thoroughly using a large wooden spoon.

6. Next, fold in the pureed carrots, vanilla, pineapple, coconut, and chopped pecans.

7. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.

8. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then run a knife along the cake’s edges to loosen its sides.  Invert onto a serving platter so that the cake is top-side up.  Allow to cool completely before icing.

9. Prepare the icing.  Use a stand or hand mixer to beat the cream cheese with the butter.  Gradually add the confectioner’s sugar, beating until smooth.  Add coconut milk or plain milk and the vanilla, incorporating thoroughly.

10. Frost the top and sides of the cake.  Garnish with whole pecan pieces and a sprinkling of coconut.  Store in the refrigerator up to two days before serving and then allow it to come back to room temp 1 hour or so before serving.