Easter weekend was filled with lots of my favorite things: cooking, seeing friends, spending time with family, eating, and worshiping God. Saturday I went to my Grandma’s house in the country where we had a potluck-type family lunch. I was instructed to bring a dessert which suited me just fine…the hardest part was deciding what to take. I have molds and cookie cutters to bake egg, flower, and bunny sweets for a week. We usually have a coconut cake (Driver’s), my grandma was making a strawberry pie, my cousin makes a cheesecake pie, and then some of my little cousins make cookies or cupcakes for the holidays, so I decided on carrot cake, in the shape of an Easter egg.
I am a cake lover. Italian creme is probably number one on my list, and carrot cake ranks close to the bottom. If I’m going to eat dessert, let’s do dessert. I don’t need vegetables interfering. But lots of people like carrot cake, including my dad. And I just happen to have a recipe that will help woo non-carrot cake fans into lovers.
Part of the goodness is that the recipe is Amish, from my cookbook, Cooking from Quilt Country: Hearty Recipes from Amish and Mennonite Kitchens by Marcia Adams. Be forewarned, this was time-intensive. I probably spent 2 hours on Friday night baking the cake and 2 hours Saturday morning mixing the icing and decorating the carrot cake.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups finely shredded carrots (3/4 pound)
Preheat the oven to 325F. It’s helpful if you get out and prep all your ingredients first.
In another large bowl, combine the oil, sugar, and vanilla.
Then you want to quickly mix in the carrots and nuts…so it’s time to shred the outside and then grate the carrots. I used regular carrots although most people would recommend baby carrots for a sweeter taste. Okay, now throw in the shredded carrots and finely chopped pecans. Pecans contribute to great tasting cakes.
So all the ingredients are mixed up, you want to pour the wet ingredients into the dry. The recipe calls for a 13×9 inch pan, but I had Wilton egg pans! So I greased those and poured half the batter into each. Bake for 45-50 minutes if you have a 13 x 9 pan, but I had to turn up the temp after 45 minutes since the batter was thick.
The cake should spring back when touched lightly (no gooey mess), and the edges will start to separate from the sides of the pan. Let the cake cool all the way before going to the icing part.
Wait. You don’t want runny icing on your cake! I took the cakes out of the pans (with only a little bit of trouble). I wrapped mine up in Saran wrap since it was going to be out overnight.
It’s cream cheese frosting time!! This icing will make you a rockstar, of the baking type. You need 1 package of cream cheese, softened (I use the reduced-fat in everything–not fat-free!), 1 stick buttah, also softened, 1 pound confectioner’s sugar (thankfully I buy this like it’s my duty to the world), a speck of salt, and 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans.
Whip the cream cheese and butter
then the vanilla and salt. You are ready to put this on your cake.
Because I had more surface area to cover than a 13 x 9 cake, I did a thin layer. I use a Wilton spreader for my icing.
I put my chopped pecans on top of the bottom egg half. Then I put the top half on and filled with frosting. And this is the egg with a thin layer of frosting. It’s too see-through and uneven, so obviously it needs more icing.
I whipped up batch #2 (with shortening instead of butter) and added some meringue powder which is used to stiffen buttercream icing. I knew I would need to pipe something to make it look good, so it needed to be thicker. The original icing is a bit too runny for piping.
I started out with some poofs across the top, but realized I wasn’t going to have enough icing or patience to do the whole cake.So the final picture of the cake. Yeah, about that…I’m not sure why there isn’t one. But just imagine more starbursts and some scalloped lines. It’s delicious and that’s what counts.