Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Light-er/ish Carrot Cake

An example of my not-so-mad decorating skills. But hey, this was frosted at 6:30 a.m., give me some credit.

One of the oddest remarks I ever had about my cooking was from one of my old coworkers, who upon hearing me announce that I had made the best cookies ever told me I was unabashedly vain about my cooking and rightfully so. Ever since then, I have found that coworkers are probably the best guinea pigs in the world.

I made this cake in honor of the birthday for two of my coworkers - polar opposites who happened to share the same birthday. When I asked them what they wanted and suggested carrot cake, their eyes lit up and I was really excited to make this cake for them.

I found this carrot cake from Chow Times who found it in Cook's Illustrated from November 2006. And although this was a very good recipe, I used to have one from a Light and Tasty magazine or from Taste of Home that was lighter in calories and fat, but was way more moist than this tasty cake. If I can find it amongst my cartons of recipes, I'll make that and post it as well.

But don't hold your breath. Just make this one. :)

Light-er/ish Carrot Cake
from Chow Times

vegetable cooking spray
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon table salt
3 large eggs
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 pound carrots (about 6 medium), peeled and grated (about 3 cups)

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350F. Lightly coat a 13 x 9 inch metal baking pan with vegetable oil spray, then lined the bottom with parchment paper.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.

Combine the eggs and sugar in another medium bowl.

Use and electric mixer to beat the eggs and sugars until they turn thick and creamy, 1 to 3 minutes.
Turn the mixer to low and slowly whip in the oil until thoroughly combined and emulsified, 30 to 60 seconds.

Sift half the flour mixture over the batter and gently mix in.
Repeat once more with the remaining flour mixture and continue to whisk the batter gently until mist of the lumps are gone (do not overmix).

Use a rubber spatula, gently stir in the carrots.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth the top.Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 35 to 40 minutes.

Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert the cake onto a wire rack and remove the parchment paper.Flip the cake right-side up, and cool completely on a wire rack, about 2 hours, before frosting (if desired) and serving.

Light Cream Cheese Frosting (Makes about 2 cups)
12 ounces low fat cream cheese, softened but still cool
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Mix the cream cheese and vanilla together in a large bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the confectioners; sugar and stir until thoroughly combined and smooth. (Instructions said not to use electric mixer - I said to hell with that. I think it turned out fine.)

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