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World's best carrot-cake recipe

Dessert

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229 replies to this topic

#61 babyluck

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Posted 24 September 2004 - 07:06 AM

Either do it by hand w/ a microplane or do as KatieLoeb suggested (I do this too): grate in the food processor, then put in the metal blade and pulse until the pieces are small enough. It doesn't really make them finer, though--just shorter. But if you keep processing, you'll end up with carrot pulp anyway--soft like baby food but without the additives.
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#62 Redsugar

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Posted 25 September 2004 - 03:48 AM

Several years ago, during a stay at a country inn, I devoured a generous slice of an over-the-top Carrot Cake. Hedonistically impressed by every morsel of that dessert, upon my departure I asked the innkeeper for a copy of her recipe. She told me that, after many variations, she believed her formula was finally perfected. Perhaps this recipe (which she soon mailed to me) may not surpass your own gold-standard for a grand carrot cake – but at least you’ll agree that it’s compatible with it’s developer’s extraordinary surname, Peerless!

4 cups grated carrots
2 cups granulated sugar
8 ounces butter, cut in pieces
One 14-ounce can crushed pineapple, in own juice
3 cups flour
½ tsp baking powder
2 tsps baking soda
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1½ tsps allspice
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
½ tsp salt
1 cup dried cranberries, plumped, patted dry
2 large eggs

350° oven. Greased & floured 10-inch Bundt or tube pan.

In saucepan, bring carrots, sugar, butter, pineapple to a simmer, then cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, cool completely.

Combine flour, baking powder & soda, spices, salt, and cranberries.

In separate bowl, beat eggs until lemon colored. Add carrot mixture and stir to combine. Add flour mixture, stirring only once until batter is combined. Pour into prepared pan. Bake approx. 50 min. or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Let stand 10 minutes before turning out. When cooled, cover with icing:

4 ounces butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
½ cup lightly toasted pecans, chopped
½ cup crushed pineapple, drained
½ cup coconut
"Dinner is theater. Ah, but dessert is the fireworks!" ~ Paul Bocuse

#63 Pitter

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Posted 25 September 2004 - 05:23 AM

The Commissary Cookbook carrot cake, as many have mentioned, is the best in the world, bar none. I made thousands of these when working as a baker, as it was my most requested cake. The pecan filling is sweet, but I counteracted that by adding far less powdered sugar in the cream cheese frosting, keeping it tart and tangy. The frosting recipe I found to be far too sweet and cloying. Also, I stretched a double recipe of the frosting to cover three cakes, including icing on the sides, as it really makes too much for one cake.

Once I made a carrot wedding cake -- five tiers, plus two full sheet cakes for extra. The bottom layer was 20 in. by 10 in. and must have weighed 30 pounds. This was for a party of 100, and should have been enough for 300. I heard that not only was the entire cake consumed, but the guests were going into the kitchen to run their fingers along the empty pans to gather every last crumb.

To prep for large amounts, I didn't grate the carrots but rather, simply pulsed them in the food processor with the raisins.

#64 plax

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Posted 25 September 2004 - 03:30 PM

When I was in college in Philadelphia, back in the 70s, a friend's parents baked him the Commissary's carrot cake for a birthday dinner (the restaurant was still in business back then) and we were all so impressed -- it took the two of them all day to make. Now I make the cake all the time myself but use a food processor to grate the carrots and skip the pecan cream filling-- as has been noted before it makes the cake just too sweet. And it's a big extra step.
Author of the Mahu series of mystery novels set in Hawaii.

#65 Fritz Brenner

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Posted 10 October 2004 - 02:06 AM

I just made the recipe that claire797 posted, sans raisins as I'm not a fan of them in my carrot cakes. Thanks claire, it seems to be, as you said, a carrot cake to please many tastes. I definitely agree about the frosting, I think cream cheese icing needs the butter *and* the cream cheese, with the lemon juice to balance it all out. mmm. yes, it is two in the morning, but when you need cake, you just need cake. :smile:
"There is no worse taste in the mouth than chocolate and cigarettes. Second would be tuna and peppermint. I've combined everything, so I know."
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#66 Boris_A

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Posted 10 October 2004 - 02:43 AM

To complete the info here, let me just add that carrot cake is a highly traditional "signature dish" of the Swiss canton of Argovia. The name is "Aargauer Rüeblitorte". It's a rather straightforward recipe. The cake should be on the moist side. Here's a recipe.
Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler.

#67 claire797

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Posted 10 October 2004 - 05:25 AM

I just made the recipe that claire797 posted, sans raisins as I'm not a fan of them in my carrot cakes. Thanks claire, it seems to be, as you said, a carrot cake to please many tastes.  I definitely agree about the frosting, I think cream cheese icing needs the butter *and* the cream cheese, with the lemon juice to balance it all out.  mmm.  yes, it is two in the morning, but when you need cake, you just need cake.    :smile:

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Fritz,

2:00 in the morning? I hope you got some sleep :laugh:.

Glad you liked that recipe. The last time I made it was for an Austin egullet get together where everyone agreed it was one of the best carrot cakes ever.

One of these days I'd like to try Sherry Yard's carrot cake recipe which she includes in her book The Secrets of Baking. It's unique in that she uses almond meal in place of a good portion of the flour. In fact, the base of the recipe is really just a financier. As for the icing recipe, she ices it with some rich, butter, cream cheese recipe she got from some sort of diner.

:wub: Sherry Yard.

#68 M. Lucia

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Posted 10 October 2004 - 05:58 PM

As Wendy has said, I think each of our tastes is shaped by our personal histories and experiences. The year I was born, Gourmet published a children's birthday party menu, including a carrot cake recipe. I have had that cake for my birthday almost every year since then (apparently in a pre-teen year I was swayed by the popularity of ice-cream cakes).

Over the years, I have tweaked the recipe to my liking, but I always make the marzipan shaped bunnies and carrots to decorate the cake. For me, the ultimate carrot cake is dark, dense, moist, but does not have any pineapple or coconut.

Here is the original 1983 recipe (if you can dig up an old copy it has precious pictures):

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Marzipan Rabbits and Carrots

For the layers:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar,
2 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp salt, 1 tbl cinnamon, a pinch of ground allspice
4 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
4 cups finely grated carrots (about 1 pound- carrots with green tops)
Make the layers: line the bottoms of 3 8-inch round pans with
wax paper, butter the paper, and dust the pans with flour. 
Into a bowl, sift together the flour, the sugar, the baking soda,
the salt, the cinnamom, and the allspice. In a large bowl, beat
the eggs for 1 minute, or until they are frothy, and add the oil
in a stream, beating. Beat in gradually the flour mixture and beat
the batter just until it is smooth.  Stir in the carrots and divide
the batter among the cake pans, smoothing the tops.  Bake at 350
for 25-30 minutes. When done, let cool for about 10 minutes, then
invert onto a rack, let cool completely, and peel off paper.

For the frosting: 1 pound cream cheese, softened, 1 stick (
1/2 cup)unsalted butter, softened, 4 cups confectioners sugar,
sifted, 2 teaspoons vanilla.

1/2 cup apricot jam, sieved, marzipan, food coloring, parsley

Arrange 1 layer on a serving plate, spread it with half the jam, and
top it with a second layer.  Spread the second layer with the remaining
 jam and top it with the remaining layer. Spread the frosting over the
top and sides of the cake. Make bunnies and carrots out of marzipan,
painting with food coloring. Place the carrots around the sides of the cake
and place the bunnies in a circle around the top, using sprigs of parsley
as grass.


Over the years I have made the following alterations:
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice, cloves
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3 eggs plus 1 white
3/4 cup oil
4 cups carrots

This will always be my standard carrot cake, from which I may vary.

In the interest of this thread, perhaps someone would like to bake several of the most popular versions (Commisary, etc.) discussed here and do a side by side taste test.
I'd love to know the results.

#69 joiei

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Posted 13 October 2004 - 06:02 AM

Gifted Gourmet, I made your cake for my boss over the weekend. She loved it. It was for a birthday cake for one of her grandsons.
It is good to be a BBQ Judge.

#70 Stone

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Posted 24 November 2004 - 05:12 PM

I decided to make this again for tomorrow's dinner. But I forgot to buy walnuts, so instead I chopped up 3/4 of a golden delicious apple. (The apples in Hudson Valley -- Golden Delicious, Macs, Matsu, etc. -- are amazing right now.) I was worried that the moisture from the apple would screw up the batter, but the cakes seemed to have come out all right. They're sitting in saran in the fridge till tomorrow. Hopefully I wont eat all the icing before then.

#71 Stone

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Posted 26 November 2004 - 08:06 AM

This turned out really good, but for my icing problem. Most of the apple melted and added a terrific subtle aroma. The cakes were incredibly moist, with a little tang. I added a t of ginger powder to the icing which also gave a great aroma, though not much of a taste on the tongue.

#72 JohnRichardson

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Posted 09 December 2004 - 02:37 PM

This is a stupid question, but in the Frog Commissary cake, do you put the pecan filling between the layers only, leaving a hole in the center like a bundt cake, or do you fill up the center area with the pecan filling then frost over everything so it looks like tall layer cake with a surprise? I can't find a picture of the assembled cake anywhere on the Internet and the instructions seem a bit vague.

#73 BrentKulman

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Posted 09 December 2004 - 03:21 PM

This is a stupid question, but in the Frog Commissary cake, do you put the pecan filling between the layers only, leaving a hole in the center like a bundt cake, or do you fill up the center area with the pecan filling then frost over everything so it looks like tall layer cake with a surprise?  I can't find a picture of the assembled cake anywhere on the Internet and the instructions seem a bit vague.

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It's a layer cake, John.

#74 JohnRichardson

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Posted 09 December 2004 - 03:57 PM

This is a stupid question, but in the Frog Commissary cake, do you put the pecan filling between the layers only, leaving a hole in the center like a bundt cake, or do you fill up the center area with the pecan filling then frost over everything so it looks like tall layer cake with a surprise?  I can't find a picture of the assembled cake anywhere on the Internet and the instructions seem a bit vague.

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It's a layer cake, John.

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Right, but does the pecan goodness only go between the layers, or does it go between the layers and in the hole in the middle of the cake? Pictures would be helpful.

#75 I82Much

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Posted 01 January 2005 - 05:10 PM

This is a stupid question, but in the Frog Commissary cake, do you put the pecan filling between the layers only, leaving a hole in the center like a bundt cake, or do you fill up the center area with the pecan filling then frost over everything so it looks like tall layer cake with a surprise?  I can't find a picture of the assembled cake anywhere on the Internet and the instructions seem a bit vague.

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It's a layer cake, John.

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"Carrot Cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Have ready a greased and floured 10" tube cake pan"

I think this is where the "hole" question is coming from

#76 I82Much

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Posted 02 January 2005 - 11:18 AM

I made half of the Commisary Carrot Cake in an 8" round. Frosted with the frosting (with 1/2 cup less powdered sugar) and it's EXCELLENT. Omitted the raisins and nuts but will put them back in for the final product.

#77 Ling

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Posted 02 January 2005 - 07:43 PM

I'm quite sure you split the bundt cake and spread the filling in between the layers.

#78 mkfradin

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Posted 02 January 2005 - 10:01 PM

Yes, I remember eating it in the 70s and it looked like a frosted Cake with a hole in the middle.

If you filled up the middle with all that goo--shudder--I think you'd probably go into insulin shock. It's the definition of too much of a good thing.

Marjorie

Nostalgic aside: my parents took my sixth grade friends and me to the commissary for my birthday dinner, and afterwards we had to go to McDonalds to get something to eat (this was after seeing Rocky or Star Wars, I forget which). How times change!!

#79 I82Much

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Posted 06 January 2005 - 01:30 PM

I've got both rounds made, going to be making the icing later and chilling it before use tomorrow.

Going to omit the pecan filling, but I did add back in the raisins and chopped pecans.

#80 CaliPoutine

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Posted 28 January 2005 - 07:01 PM

I've tried about twenty recipes for carrot cake in the last two years. My favourite is from Southern Living. The buttermilk glaze between the layers just adds something really special to a great cake.

http://food4.epicuri...8005/1/1/1.html

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I entered this cake in our county fair last year. I took 3rd place only because the judges didnt like the orange in the frosting. Its a very "different" kind of carrot cake. Very dense and there is a lot of stuff going on here. A friend of mine gave me the recipe years ago and she called it Blue Ribbon Carrot cake. I lost it and did a web search for it and I found it online in the Portland Junior League cookbook.

#81 Patrick S

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 05:21 PM

I've never been wild about carrot cake, but my wife recently requested one, so I made the one from Cooks Illustrated. Its pretty good, and I think the recipe might make a good base for a spice cake. I used slightly less carrot than the recipe called for --about 12ozs rather than 16. I was afraid the cake would be overly carroty, but it isn't. My daughter can't get enough of the cream cheese icing either.

NOTE: Wendy or Neil, if you think these two pics are too large to embed in the thread, let me know and I'll shrink them. They are about 45kb each. I wanted to use larger pics to better show the structure of the cake.

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"If you are irritated by every rub, how will you be polished?" - Rumi

#82 CanadianBakin'

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 08:13 PM

Patrick - I tried that recipe a while ago and I wasn't impressed, neither were my tasters. I guess it depends what you are looking for in a carrot cake. We all preferred one that had pineapple in it as well. And a cream cheese icing flavoured with orange zest is a must for us.
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#83 JSkilling

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 08:18 PM

Purty pics! The oil in that recipe must be minimal since the cake looks fairly light. I agree with CB - pineapple is a must and orange zest in the frosting! This is one of those cakes where the more glopped up the better.
Josette

#84 sarah o

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Posted 08 March 2005 - 09:17 PM

I agree with CB on the CI recipe, made it also and it was not very exciting.

Like it more goopy too!

But Patrick sure makes his look awesome.

#85 Patrick S

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Posted 09 March 2005 - 06:37 AM

Purty pics!  The oil in that recipe must be minimal since the cake looks fairly light.

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Actually, there's a cup and a half of oil in the cake. However the oil is emulsified with the eggs and sugar in a food processor, and I think that somehow that makes the cake seem lighter. I haven't tried any other recipe, so I don't have anything to compare this one to. Like I said, I don't really care for carrot cake. When the next blue moon comes around, I'll try that Frog Commissary cake.
"If you are irritated by every rub, how will you be polished?" - Rumi

#86 Swisskaese

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Posted 09 March 2005 - 08:36 AM

I am going to be making "The Ultimate Carrot Cake with Mascarpone, Fromage Frais and Cinnamon Icing" on Friday. I will post pics when I am finished.

#87 Patrick S

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Posted 10 March 2005 - 08:00 PM

I tried the Frog Comissary cake recipe linked to earlier in the thread. Instead of the pecan cream filling in the middle, I just used more of the cream cheese icing. I also included raisins and a little crushed pineapple. This one is definitely moist and heavy, and I like it quite a bit.

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#88 oli

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Posted 11 March 2005 - 07:22 AM

Can this cake be made without using the "10" tube cake pan, just a regular cake pan?

#89 joshalow

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Posted 11 March 2005 - 07:38 AM

Here's the recipe that has been in my family for a while- have no idea where it came from. It is a very moist cake. Most brides like it because it has no raisins or nuts in it. It's quite simple to make-not as many spices in it, etc.

1 and 1/2 c sifted all purpose flour
1 c. sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

Sift all of these ingredients together. Add:

2/3 c. vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 c finely shredded carrot
1/2 c crushed pineapple (with syrup)
1 tsp vanilla

Mix til moistened, and then beat for 2 minutes at medium speed.
Bake in a 9x9x2 in. pan at 350 for about 35 min.

The cake is great fresh, but is also great after freezing it- very moist.

#90 Patrick S

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Posted 11 March 2005 - 07:46 AM

Can this cake be made without using the "10" tube cake pan, just a regular cake pan?

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Sure. There's no reason why you couldn't use a 13x9, or a couple of 9" rounds. Just adjust your cooking time accordingly.
"If you are irritated by every rub, how will you be polished?" - Rumi





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