Carrot cake was the grand finale for the Mother’s Day feast we hosted. This is my favourite carrot cake – the recipe I use is actually called “Just Carrots Carrot Cake” which is exactly why I love it. You can add bells and whistles if you like – I prefer to layer them on the top. But no raisins. Definitely, absolutely, no raisins. Who wants to eat humiliated grapes? (Love that movie!) Oh, and this time, I had the genius idea to add caramel sauce. Wow. Genius. Note to self: find more recipes that use caramel sauce. That is, if there is any left after I spoonful by spoonful eat all the leftover caramel sauce straight from the fridge (I wish I was kidding).
As I mentioned, the cake itself is very simple, as is the cream cheese frosting. The caramel sauce is also easy, it just requires a bit of patience and trust. I say trust because each time I make it, I think it won’t turn out. I think that this time I must have done something wrong. I must have accidentally doubled one of the ingredients (don’t laugh – it’s happened!). I must have read the instructions wrong. But no, it turns out delicious and amazing every time and makes me wonder why I don’t make it more often.
P.S. I apologize that I don’t have any pictures of the inside of the cake – it was too damn delicious and we ate it so fast I forgot. You’ll just have to make your own to see it!
1 cup white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp allspice
1 cup applesauce
1/2 cup butter, melted
3 cups grated carrots
1. Mix dry ingredients in mixing bowl (I used my KitchenAid Mixer). Add remaining ingredients and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
2. Spread in 2 8″ round cake pans greased with butter. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes, or until toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in the pans then remove and cool completely before frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz cream cheese (1 package), softened
1/4 cup butter
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1. Blend cream cheese and butter well. Add vanilla. Gradually add powdered sugar. Beat until smooth.
1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 cup 35% whipping cream
1 tablespoon vanilla
1. Pour the water into a saucepan then pour the sugar in a pile in the middle of the water. Turn to medium-high and begin cooking without stirring. Resist the urge to stir – trust! The sugar will dissolve in the water and begin to boil. The water will evaporate, leaving behind a pure sugar syrup that will then begin to rise in temperature, past the boiling point of water, and into Michael Smith calls the “flavour zone”. This takes somewhere around 15-20 minutes, so be patient.
2. When the sugar begins to lightly brown here and there, gently swirl the pan until all of the sugar is a deep golden brown. Carefully pour in the cream and vanilla a little bit at a time and whisk until smooth.
To assemble the cake, spread frosting at top of first cake layer and add second layer on top. Frost sides and top of cake, drizzle with caramel sauce and sprinkle with chopped walnuts.