True confession: I had never made a carrot cake before when I decided to try this recipe. Why I had never made a carrot cake is not a mystery. It’s because I had never eaten carrot cake. And that is because I didn’t think I would like it. Those of you who are carrot cake fans or addicts are shaking your heads in wonderment. And now, of course, so am I.
This recipe, rated 5 stars on allrecipes.com and written by the grandson of “Sam,” was followed to a “T,” with the only exception being that I plumped the raisins in orange juice and lowered the baking temperature from 350F to 325F. From my first bite, I was addicted to carrot cake – its moistness, rich and complex flavors from fruits, nuts and, of course, the carrots – and the creamy frosting that crowns it.
I loved this cake, its texture and flavor are amazing, but I'm not giving it my top rating. The reasons: first, it’s geared to an 8x12 pan. Who has one? I was lucky to have in my kitchen a 7.5”x11.75” Pyrex pan, and it worked well. Next, I think the cake needs more salt and spices. That being said, I dreamed about this cake when I wasn’t eating it. After I try other carrot cake recipes, I may come back and change this rating. But, like I said, I’ve never eaten carrot cake, so I have no reference point.
|Sam’s Famous Carrot Cake |
Adapted from allrecipes.com
Rating: 9.0 out of 10
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1/2 cup orange juice
1 cup raisins
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon (I would add 3/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice to this next time)
1/4 tsp. salt (I would increase this to 1/2 tsp. next time)
2 cups shredded carrots
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup chopped toasted walnuts
3 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk or soured milk (sour milk=3/4 cup milk + 2 tsps. cider vinegar)
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1-1/2 cups white sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 (8 oz.) can crushed pineapple, undrained
In 1 cup Pyrex measuring cup, microwave orange juice on high till hot, about 20 seconds. Add raisins. Leave in microwave (turned off) for 15 minutes or longer to plump raisins.
Heat oven to 325F. Grease and flour an 8x12 pan. Line with 2 pieces of wax paper cut to fit bottom of pan.
In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, spices and salt. Whisk in carrots, coconut and walnuts.
In large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, oil, sugar and vanilla till smooth. Lightly stir in pineapple and drained raisins. Add flour mixture and stir lightly with spatula or spoon till combined.
Pour batter into prepared pan; bake 1 hour or till a toothpick inserted near center returns with just a few crumbs.
Cool cake in pan 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack. Remove wax paper.
Cool completely before frosting with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting. If desired, sprinkle additional toasted chopped walnuts over frosting.