Monday, November 5, 2012


Saveur's carrot cake

Saveur magazine is the source of this great carrot cake recipe.  Everyone, including me, loved the flavors produced by extra cinnamon, salt and vanilla.  There was only one problem – I was out of oil, so I used a combination of unsalted butter and organic unrefined coconut oil instead.  I’m sure they both contributed to the outstanding flavor of this cake, but I thought the texture was a bit coarse.

Two other changes:-- I don't like raisins in carrot cake, so I left them out.  We don't like gobs of frosting, so I slightly reduced the ingredients and added lemon juice for some tang.  We all thought there was plenty of frosting to cover the cake.

My taste testers raved over this cake and said it was the best carrot cake they’d ever tasted.  That leaves me in a bit of a dilemma.  How do I rate a cake that everyone else thought was tops, and I didn’t.  Flavor-wise, it has my top rating.  Texture-wise, not so much, since I’m just not a fan of coarse-textured cakes.  So I decided to bring my rating up a notch and bring theirs down a notch, leaving me at 9.5 out of 10, same as my two favorites, Cook’s Illustrated’s Simple Carrot Cake and Pillsbury’s Carrot Cake with Creamy Supreme Frosting.  My two favorites both have moistness, balanced flavors and light textures, while Saveur’s cake has superior flavor and moistness with coarse texture.  (One of these days I’m going to have a bake-off to re-rate the top three.)

Classic Carrot Cake
Adapted from Saveur Magazine Rating:  9.5 out of 10


2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1-1/2 cups sugar
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/4 cup organic unrefined coconut oil
1 tsp. Diamond kosher salt
1/2 cup buttermilk (or 1-1/2 tsp. vinegar + enough milk to make 1/2 cup)
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract (I used my homemade vanilla extract.) 4 large eggs
2 cups finely grated carrots*
1 cup canned crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

*Grate carrots on the large holes of a box grater, then pulse in workbowl of a food processor till finely grated.

Heat oven to 350F.  Grease and flour a 9” x 13” baking pan; line pan with parchment or two sheets of wax paper; set aside.  In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon; set aside. 

In a medium microwaveable bowl, melt butter on high.  Whisk in coconut oil and salt and wait for coconut oil to melt if it is hardened (this will depend on time of year and temperature in room).  Whisk in buttermilk, vanilla and eggs till mixture is smooth and well mixed.  With spatula or spoon, lightly stir liquids into flour mixture, just till barely combined.  Fold in carrots, pineapple, walnuts and coconut.  Spoon batter into prepared baking pan, then level batter with spatula.  Bake 40-45 minutes or till toothpick inserted in center returns with just a few crumbs.  Cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack lined with clean towel.  Remove paper liner from bottom of cake.  When cool, frost with cream cheese frosting.  Cover and refrigerate any leftover cake.  Yield:  12-14 servings

6 oz. Neufchatel or regular cream cheese, softened (Philadelphia brand preferred)
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla powder or vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
2 cups confectioner’s (icing) sugar, sifted

In medium bowl, beat cheese and butter on medium speed of electric mixer until smooth.  Add vanilla, lemon juice and sugar; beat till fluffy.  Refrigerate.
Saveur's carrot cake (4)


teresa said...

mmm, i love the pineapple in there!

Rita said...

Love carrot cake; I have been wanting to try the recipe with the pineapple and here it is; thanks for sharing! Looks really tasty.