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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Who Eats Carrot Cake?

I'll admit, if someone were to ask me what kind of cake I'd like for my birthday, I'd probably respond with, "Nothing fancy. Probably one of those chocolate cake mixes with chocolate frosting."  It clearly doesn't take much to please me. Just throw some chocolate at me and I'm a happy woman.

My husband, on the other hand, decided that he'd like a carrot cake for his birthday. Um, gross? Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against carrot cake other than the fact that it sounds so....healthy. In my world of delectable desserts, carrots and cake do NOT mix.

It wasn't my birthday though. So, carrot cake was on the dessert menu for the night of April 26th.

I began looking for recipes a little while back and found that carrot cake is NOT healthy. The frosting alone contains obscene amounts of cream cheese, butter, and sugar. Luckily, I am a subscriber to Cooking Light. In general, I hardly ever find a recipe worth using in the magazine--it's all a little to fancy-pantsy for me. However, they just so happened to publish a recipe for a carrot cake that reduced the calorie count from nearly 1,100 per slice to about 290 calories per slice. Score!

I made up a list of ingredients, packed up my kid, and headed 15min down the road to our local Wal-Mart (it's one of those super Wal-Marts with a grocery store).

Did I mention that it was the day after Easter? Have I ever mentioned that I'm a sucker for clearance items?

Needless to say, I walked out of Wal-Mart with many items that were most definitely NOT on my grocery list.

Oh, and I forgot to buy the carrots. You read that right. I went shopping for ingredients for carrot cake and walked out of the store WITHOUT the darn carrots.  As it happens, I ended up having a bag of baby carrots stuffed in the back of my vegetable drawer that I decided to use.

Unfortunately, using baby carrots on a grater is not the best idea--as evidenced by this picture:

Forgive my nasty dry hands (I'm obviously in desperate need of a manicure) and just focus on the small scabs on my knuckle. That would be the result of grating short and stubby little baby carrots.

There may or may not have been trace amounts of blood in the cake batter.

In the end, the cake was...ok. Let's recall, I'm not a huge fan in the first place. My husband and his buddies said that it tasted great and everyone cleaned their plates; therefore, I shall deem the carrot cake a success!

[My husband, kid, and the cake!]

Recipe used from Cooking Light April 2011 issue, pg 172

Carrot Cake
  • 10 1/10 ounces all-purpose flour (about 2 1/4 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups grated carrot
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • Cooking spray
  • Frosting:
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 ounce fromage blanc (if you can't find fromage blanc, use more cream cheese)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted

  • 1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  • 2. To prepare cake, weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, ground cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add 2 cups grated carrot, tossing to combine.
  • 3. Place granulated sugar, brown sugar, and 6 tablespoons butter in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until combined. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Spread batter into a 13 x 9-inch metal baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 28 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cake completely on a wire rack.
  • 4. To prepare frosting, place softened cream cheese and next 4 ingredients (through 1/8 teaspoon salt) in a medium bowl. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until fluffy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at medium speed until combined (don't overbeat). Spread frosting evenly over top of cake. Sprinkle evenly with toasted pecans.

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