Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Holiday Carrot Cake

I made this carrot cake for Christmas and it was a big hit! In fact, my brother admitted to eating a slice for breakfast the day after...LOL. The addition of the cranberries, which are in the batter and on top as a garnish, makes it just a little more special and totally appropriate for the holiday season. However, you can completely omit the cranberries and simply enjoy this classic carrot cake with a rich cream cheese frosting any time of the year.

In addition to this cake, I did a TON more cooking for Christmas. I also made broiled salmon, beef tenderloin, fresh baked rolls,herbed butter,baked rice pilaf, roasted potatoes,green beans, salad and 4 different appetizers...and I cooked it all by myself...phew :) It was a lot of work, but totally worth it.

I hope you all had a nice holiday too.

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1-1/2 cups vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 medium-size carrots, peeled and shredded (about 2 cups)
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries

2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups confectioners' sugar
cranberries and walnuts, for garnish

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat two 9 x 2-inch round cake pans with cooking spray. Line bottoms with waxed paper. Coat paper with spray.
2. Cake: In medium-size bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice and salt. In large bowl, beat sugars, oil, eggs and vanilla on medium speed until blended. On low, beat in flour mixture until smooth. Stir in carrots, nuts and cranberries. Divide batter between pans, spreading evenly.
3. Bake at 350 degrees for 42 to 44 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack 10 minutes. Turn out and cool completely.
4. Frosting: In large bowl, beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla until creamy. Gradually beat in confectioners sugar until smooth.
5. With serrated knife, cut each cake horizontally in half. Place one layer on cake plate and spread with 1 cup frosting. Repeat two more times with layers and frosting. Place remaining layer, cut-side down, on top and spread with remaining frosting. Garnish with berries and nuts. Makes 16 servings.

Source: Family Cirlce Magazine Dec 2009

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