My family seems to have a never ending list of favorite recipes my mom makes. This carrot cake is high on everyone's list and I realized recently, we don't make it nearly often enough. It has so many flavors and textures - carrots (obviously), nuts, coconut, pineapple with almond extract to give it that extra something something. It's not one of those carrot cakes you get at the store that is basically a white cake with some spices thrown in. THIS is a carrot cake.
And I haven't even talked about the frosting yet. Of course it has cream cheese frosting...No self respecting carrot cake would be without cream cheese frosting. But this cream cheese frosting also has vanilla paste and orange zest. You have to try it and I dare you not to say it's the best carrot cake you've ever tasted!
The recipe below includes gram equivalents of the dry ingredients because I find it is so much easier to buy yourself a kitchen scale like this one and measure things by weight instead of volume. A real chef would say it's more precise - I say it's easier to not dirty a bunch of measuring cups!
I also use one of my favorite ingredients in this cake (ok, I use it in every cake) - Vanilla Bean Paste. You can substitute vanilla bean paste for vanilla beans and vanilla extract. I love it because the flavor is so much better than extract and it has that lovely vanilla bean caviar that when you see it in your cake or frosting or ice cream, you know it's going to taste like REAL vanilla. The link above takes you to a 32 ounce container of the vanilla bean paste. Why would you need 32 whole ounces? Well, I will be posting a lot more vanilla recipes -- my favorite one being homemade vanilla syrup -- but back to that later. I admittedly bake so much 32 ounces makes a lot of sense. Plus, it's cheaper per ounce and it has a 3 year shelf life! But if you insist on a smaller amount, here is a link to the 4 ounce size. Either way, you've just kicked up your baking by a major notch!
I hope you give it a try…
Nana's Carrot Cake Serves 24
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 55 minutes
2 cups (256 grams) all-purpose flour
2 cups (402 grams) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 - 7 ounce package flaked coconut
1 cup crushed pineapple -- drained
1 cup walnuts or pecans -- chopped
1/2 cup raisins
2 cups carrots -- grated
8 ounce package cream cheese
1/2 stick butter (4 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste (or you can use vanilla extract)
1 box powdered sugar
zest of one orange
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on low speed.
Then add the buttermilk, vegetable oil, almond extract and eggs. Mix for about 1 minute on medium speed until combined.
Add the coconut, pineapple, nuts, raisins and carrots. Mix until just combined.
Pour into a greased 9 x 13" pan. Bake for 55 minutes.
While cake is cooling, mix all the frosting ingredients together in your standing mixer. Mix on medium high speed for 2-3 minutes until well blended. Spread over cooled cake.