Southern Living has got religion. Their reduced-fat “healthier” take on traditional carrot cake uses only 1/4 cup of oil, proving that austerity works. The frosting, though, was uber sweet for me, so I did halve the sugar. And I sprinkled chopped toasted walnuts on top, adding some fat back in. (Walnuts are “good” fats versus unhealthy over-processed vegetable and canola oils which convert to trans-fats when heated.)
I was surprised at how good this cake was, and my hat is off yet again to Southern Living for its wonderful recipes.
However, my two favorite carrot cakes remain Pillsbury’s Carrot Cake with Creamy Supreme Frosting and Cook’s Illustrated’s 2003 Simple Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. Both are light, moist and full of flavor, and both are reduced-fat versions.
|Layered Carrot Cake |
Adapted from Southern Living, April 2011
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
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|CARROT CAKE BATTER: |
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar (I used 1/2 cup sugar + 1 Tbsp. NuNaturals Stevia) 2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. Diamond kosher salt
1 (8-oz.) can crushed pineapple in juice, drained (I had fresh, so I used it.) 1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 egg whites
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract (I used my homemade vanilla.) 3 cups grated carrots
Vegetable cooking spray
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:
6 oz. (3/4 of an 8 oz. pkg.) Neufchatel (1/3 less fat) cheese
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla powder or vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
PREPARE BATTER: Heat oven to 350F. Combine flour, sugar, soda, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture. Whisk (don’t beat) together pineapple, oil, eggs, egg whites and vanilla; add pineapple mixture to flour mixture, stirring just till dry ingredients are moistened. Fold in carrots. Spoon batter into two (8-inch) round cake pans coated with cooking spray.
Bake 22-25 minutes or till a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on a wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pans to a wire rack; cool completely (about 1 hour).
PREPARE FROSTING: In medium bowl, beat Neufchatel, butter and vanilla at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar to butter mixture; beat at low speed just till blended. Do not overbeat. Beat in lemon juice.
ASSEMBLE: Place one cake layer on a serving plate; spread with 2/3 cup frosting and top with remaining cake layer. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake.
Yield: 10-12 servings