Monday, September 12, 2011


LHJ carrot cake

In my quest to find the best carrot cake recipe, I find I am faced with a dilemma:  I like them all, though my fave still remains Cook's Illustrated 2003 Simple Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting, for its lighter texture and slightly spicier flavor. 

Could carrot cakes be like brides and Christmas trees -- no losers?  For me, it seems so.  Here’s another great recipe, as magazine recipes usually are.  This one makes a dense cake with excellent flavor, thanks in part to raisins that get soaked in bourbon (or in my cake’s case, Canadian Mist whiskey).  The frosting, with very little sugar, is the perfect counterpart to the sweet, rich and moist cake.  Timing is perfect.

LHJ carrot cake (2)

The shape of the cake is odd.  It’s baked in a 10-inch springform pan, but I didn’t want long thin wedges.  So I cut a circle in the middle and cut thicker, smaller wedges from the outside circle.  The inside circle became my special, hidden treat.

LHJ carrot cake (5)

Ladies Home Journal Carrot Cake
Source:  Ladies Home Journal Magazine
Rating:  9.0 out of 10

INGREDIENTS:  1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup bourbon (I used Canadian Mist whiskey)
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, spooned and lightly swept
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. sea salt or kosher salt
3/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
2 cups granulated sugar (I used 1 cup sugar + 1/4 cup Nu Naturals Stevia)
1 cup vegetable oil (I used 1/2 cup oil + 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk)
2 large eggs
3/4 lb. (12 oz.) carrots, peeled, grated coarsely, then chopped
1 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped

Heat oven to 350F (325F for dark or coated pans).  Grease a 10-inch springform pan or a 10-inch round cake pan.  Line bottom with wax paper; grease paper.  Combine raisins and bourbon in small bowl; set aside.

Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and spices in a bowl.  Set aside.

Using a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat sugar, oil and buttermilk if using, until blended.  Add eggs, 1 at a time, scraping side and bottom of bowl after ach addition.  At low speed, beat in dry ingredients just till combined.  Drain raisins through sieve; discard bourbon or save for future use.  Add raisins, carrots and pecans to flour mixture.  At medium speed, beat about 3 more minutes, until batter is well blended.  Pour into prepared pan; bake 1 hour and 15 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.  (Feel pick with finger to see if it’s  dry.  If gummy, bake longer.  Carrot cakes are difficult to test for doneness and you can be deceived into thinking it’s done when it’s not.  I found the timing to be perfect.) 

Cool cake in pan on wire rack 15 minutes; remove side of pan.  Invert onto rack and remove bottom of pan and wax paper.  Cool completely.  (If using cake pan, run a knife around side of pan and invert cake onto rack; remove pan and wax paper.)  Transfer to serving plate.

Make frosting:  In medium bowl, beat 8 oz. softened cream cheese or Neufchatel and 4 Tbsp. softened butter until smooth.  Beat in 1 cup confectioner’s sugar, 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract and 1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice until light and fluffy.  Spread over top of cake.  If desired, garnish with toasted pecans or walnuts.  Serves 12-18, depending on size of slices

LHJ carrot cake (4)


Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

I love carrot cake, but a good icing just makes it perfect. Yum yum Diane

Krithi's Kitchen said...

We at home are big carrot cake lovers... I too make carrot cupcakes!! This sounds super good...
Krithi's Kitchen
Event: Serve It - Steamed