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Classic Carrot Cake

To save time in preparation, use a food processor fitted with the shredding disk to shred the carrots. This cake is also good flavored with coconut: Beat 1 1/2 tsp. coconut extract and 1 cup toasted sweetened shredded coconut into the cream cheese frosting and spread onto the cake. Then press 1 cup toasted sweetened shredded coconut evenly onto the sides of the cake for a decorative, flavorful finish.

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 3 cups lightly packed peeled, shredded carrots

For the cream cheese frosting:

  • 1 lb. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at
     room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

Position a rack in the middle of an oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter and flour 2 round cake pans each 9 inches in diameter and 2 inches deep.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and allspice. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, vegetable oil, granulated sugar, brown sugar and buttermilk until blended.

Stir the flour mixture into the egg mixture just until combined. Fold in the carrots. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Transfer to racks and let cool in the pans for 15 minutes. Invert the cakes onto the racks and let cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the cream cheese frosting: In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese and butter. Using an electric mixer set on medium-high speed, beat until smooth. Reduce the speed to low, add the confectioners' sugar and beat until smooth. Beat in the vanilla extract until well blended.

Place 1 cake layer on a plate. Spread 1 1/2 cups of the frosting over the top. Place the second cake layer on top. Spread the remaining frosting decoratively over the top and sides of the cake.

Serve immediately, or cover with a cake dome and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Makes one 9-inch cake; serves 12.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Library Series, Cakes, Cupcakes & Cheesecakes, by Sarah Tenaglia (Time-Life Books, 1995).