How are you doing on the cake challenge? Do you have a favorite yet? I think mine so far is the Citrus Angel Food Cake, but if you’re a carrot cake fan you may love this month’s cake. Yes, we’re making a classic carrot cake with fluffy cream cheese frosting this month. This cake has been around forever and just never seems to go out of style. It’s not my personal favorite but my mom and younger sister are huge fans. When we have it for one of their birthdays I usually just eat the frosting. You really don’t need cake if you have a nice cream cheese frosting to nibble on. I’m willing to give this cake a shot, though, for 2 reasons: 1) It uses buttermilk and oil, which creates a nice, crumbly texture which sounds good; and 2) there are no raisins. Hallelujah! No offense to the raisin eaters out there but they are just not my thing.

So let’s get baking. As always, I do recommend assembling your ingredients and supplies first. It’s just the worst when you’re in the middle of a recipe and realize you don’t have room temperature butter. Once you’ve got everything together, go ahead and preheat the oven and butter two cake pans. Instead of just flouring the pans like you often do, you’re going to butter the pans and then cut two circles of parchment paper to line the bottom of the pans with. To make this easy on myself, I usually turn a pan upside down, set the parchment paper on top, and either mark an outline of the pan with a pen and then cut it out, or cut around the outside of the pan. Then I use the first circle as a guide to cut the second one. After the parchment paper is in, butter it and then flour the pans.

The next few steps are pretty similar to what we’ve done with our other cakes- cream the eggs and sugar, stir together the dry ingredients, beat the liquids together, and then incorporate the dry ingredients into the liquids. Just make sure to measure carefully and only beat the dry ingredients into the liquid ones until everything is moistened. Overbeating is what causes cakes to seem tough, so watch out for that. The carrots and pecans are stirred into the cake once the dry ingredients are moistened. Then just pop the cakes into the oven and bake for about an hour, until a toothpick inserted in the center of each comes out with just a few crumbs clinging to it. The cakes need to cool completely before the frosting is added.

Funny story while the cakes cool- I made my mom a carrot cake a few years that was such a disaster! For some reason I used a vegetable peeler instead of a grater to shred the carrots. I have no idea why; I knew the difference between peeling and shredding but didn’t think anything of it. I sat and marveled at how quickly I finished the carrots until the cake came out pale and blotchy. Needless to say, a new cake was in order with properly shredded carrots, which turned out great!

To make the frosting, just beat together the softened cream cheese and butter for about 5 minutes to make it nice and light. Add in the powdered sugar and vanilla and mix into the butter-cream cheese mixture. Then you just spread the frosting onto the cake (I opted for an almost-naked cake look, which I am really loving these days!), refrigerate for an hour to set the frosting, and enjoy!

What are your feelings on carrot cake? Is it your favorite or would you rather skip the vegetables in your dessert?

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