I love Easter because it kicks off the wonderful season of Spring; flowers are in bloom, animals frolic outside, and you can start wearing sandals! I live in Chicago so this is a big deal. My mom is hosting Easter this year, and I decided I would make a carrot cake, one of her favorite desserts. Grated carrots make this cake very sweet and moist (I know everyone hates that word, but it was all I could think of) and the frosting is made with cream cheese. Yum! So easy to make and even easier to eat. Let’s get this party started…
What you will need:
Two 9 in. cake pans
For the carrot cake:
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
2 1/2 cups finely grated carrots
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
For the cream cheese frosting:
1/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest (optional)
I had to show a picture of the grating carrots process because it was a lot harder to do than I thought!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Butter or spray two 9 in. cake pans and line the bottoms with a circle of parchment paper.
To make the carrot cake:
In a medium sized bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and ground cinnamon. Set aside.
In a large bowl (or bowl of your electric mixer), beat the eggs until frothy. Gradually add the sugar and beat until the batter is thick and light colored (about 3 minutes). Add the oil in a steady stream and then add the vanilla. Add the flour mixture and beat until incorporated. With a large rubber spatular, fold in the grated carrots and chopped nuts. Evenly divide the batter between the two prepared pans and bake for 25-30 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. After 10 minutes, invert the cakes onto the wire racks and let cool completely before frosting.
To make the frosting:
In a large bowl (or bowl of your electric mixer), beat the cream cheese and butter until blended with no lumps. Gradually add the powdered sugar until smooth. Beat in the vanilla and lemon zest. Frost cake and enjoy!