Ultimate Carrot Cake – revisited and even better!

by zoe on October 11, 2011 · 84 comments  |  Print Email this to a friend

My Ultimate Carrot Cake first made an appearance on ZoëBakes in 2008, and it has remained one of my most popular posts. I have made it many, many times since then and tweaked the recipe, as I am apt to do, every time I make it. After all the experiments, this is the recipe I have come to like the best. The changes are subtle, because the original was pretty spot on, but this version wins. Try them both and let me know which you like best.

I am gearing up to go on book tour with Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day. You can find my travel schedule on the events page and I would be thrilled to meet you if I am coming to your area. The tour schedule is coming together in bits and pieces, so check back if I don’t have all the details for your city written in yet. Hope to see you!

Ultimate Carrot Cake – Even better than before, and that is saying something.

1 pound finely grated carrots

1 1/4 cups sugar

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 1/4 cup canola oil

4 extra large eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons pure vanilla

Finely grated zest of 1 large orange

2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmegs

1 1/4 cups sweetened shredded coconut

1 cup chopped dried fruit (apricots and cherries)

Cream Cheese Frosting:

28 ounces cream cheese, softened

8 ounces unsalted butter, softened

2 teaspoons pure vanilla

1/4 teaspoon lemon extract (optional)

2 teaspoons lemon juice

5 cups confectioners’ sugar

2 tablespoons Lyle’s Golden Syrup

2 cups sweetened shredded coconut for pressing on the outside of the cake

Grease two 9″ cake pans and line with parchment. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grate the carrots using the grater attachment on a Food Processor, or a Box Grater (if using the box grater, use the finer side).

Using the blade on the food processor, chop the carrots more finely.

In a small bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and spices. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, brown sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Then gently whisk in the dry ingredients.

Add the carrots and dried fruit.

Fold in the coconut.

Divide the batter into the two prepared pans and bake for about 30 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.

Let cakes cool completely in the pans on a wire rack.

Make the icing by blending the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, lemon extract, lemon juice, confectioners’ sugar and Lyle’s Golden Syrup, until smooth.

Put one of the layers of cake on a 9-inch cardboard round and then top it with 1 cup of the cream cheese icing.

Cover the cake with a thin crumb coat (watch video for crumb coat instructions).

Then finish with a smooth coating of the cream cheese icing (watch video for smooth icing instructions). I ran my spatula tip around the icing to create the swirls, but we’ll be pressing coconut on the outside, so don’t worry about getting this effect.

Before moving the cake to the platter, lift it and gently press the shredded coconut onto the top and sides.

Use a sharp knife to cut the cake. This cake is wonderful the next day or even the following. Just wrap it well and refrigerate….

If there is any left!

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