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Fat Guy

World's best carrot-cake recipe

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Middydd - just wanted to let you know I tried the Southern Living Carrot Cake and oh my goodness, is it wonderful!! My husband thought it was a bit gooey so I made it again without the buttermilk glaze. I like it best with but it is still wonderful without. I also made Cooks Illustrated which was way too plain. It has no coconut or pineapple. At my husbands request I also made a recipe from one of his co-workers. He thinks her recipe is best but it had 4 X the salt and way too much pineapple as far as I'm concerned. So, my thanks for the recipe! It's in my permanent file. :biggrin:


Edited by CanadianBakin' (log)

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I made the Frog Commissary cake yesterday (without the filling), and I have to give it a great big thumbs up! :biggrin: I did add some lemon to the frosting, though.

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For those of you that are sick of putting a bit too much of yourself into your cooking whilst hand grating the carrots I suggest using the shredder disk on the old food processor and then a quick pulse with the knife blade in to make the shreds a bit shorter. Works for me every time and I still have my knuckles and most of the day left to do other things.

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has anyone tried replacing some of the oil with applesauce? i have made very popular carrot cakes (usually the epicurious one referenced on the first page that has maple in the icing - though i make my own icing) replacing half or more of the oil with apple sauce.

i think i'm going to have to try one with 1/2 apple sauce and half melted butter...i'll add some pineapple (drained) but no coconut. yes raisins, toasted pecans/on top but not in the cake. love carrot cake.

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Does anyone else think that carrot cakes are generally too light in color and taste? I like a darker brown color, not that pale tan. 100% dark brown sugar or even a mix of brown sugar and molasses.

I don't think oil in cake is necessarily bad. David Lebovitz's magnificent Fresh Ginger Cake calls for a cup of oil and it works very well. I'm not saying melted butter in carrot cake would be so bad, though...

My mother requests carrot cake nearly every year on her birthday, so I'm quite interested in finding the perfect one. She likes them dark and definitely not too sweet.

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I am making a carrot cake for my nephew's 1st birthday. Does anyone have a suggestion about shredding the carrots REALLY fine? I've read of people (not on this board) using baby food carrots, but I would think other parts of the recipe would have to be tinkered with; any thoughts (good or bad)?

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I am making a carrot cake for my nephew's 1st birthday.  Does anyone have a suggestion about shredding the carrots REALLY fine? 

To get them really fine I put them through the food processor twice.

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I just made carrot cake for a friend's sons' 1st birthday and the carrots were good just through a normal fine grater (not as fine as the one for lemon rind). Are you worried about a choking factor or is this just a preference?

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I just made carrot cake for a friend's sons' 1st birthday and the carrots were good just through a normal fine grater (not as fine as the one for lemon rind). Are you worried about a choking factor or is this just a preference?

Honestly, I'm not sure. It was just the mother's request to make sure they were very finely grated so her son could eat the cake. This is a friend's son who might have food issues. I also can't put any nuts in the cake.

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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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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

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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.

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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.

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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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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.

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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:

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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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.

It's a layer cake, John.

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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.

It's a layer cake, John.

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.

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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.

It's a layer cake, John.

"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

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