Carrot cake is a man’s food. It’s not that women don’t like it, but ask any man you know what cake he wants for his birthday, and 9 times out of 10 it will be carrot. So it came as no surprise that my daughter’s best friend, Waylon, requested carrot cake for his birthday. I have nothing against carrot cake. It was one of the first cakes I perfected at age 13. I just got tired of making it. I wanted lemon curd, hummingbird, chocolate mousse–cakes with challenge and panache. But many years later, admittedly, it was a bit of a comfort to revisit the original recipe (from The Montgomery Women’s Club Cookbook). It sent me to the store for crushed pineapple, which I hadn’t had in the house for years. Mid-way through the frosting, I realized I had only half of the powdered sugar needed. So I finished it off with brown sugar, which turned out to be a fortuitous substitution. It was the creamiest, best cream cheese frosting I ever made. I also cut down on the sugar and oil a bit, which made a lighter, fluffier cake too. This cake is simpler than many carrot cake recipes I’ve had over the years, and I think, perfect. Happy 17th birthday, Waylon.
The Montgomery Women’s Club Cookbook of Cincinnati, Ohio.
With a bit less oil and sugar, the layers turned out light and tall.
Out of powdered sugar, I used light brown sugar in what turned out to be the creamiest frosting ever.
Marion’s Carrot Cake with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 cups grated carrots
1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Combine sugar, oil and eggs in bowl of a mixer. Beat 1 minute. Sift together flour, baking powder, soda, salt and cinnamon. Add to egg mixture and mix well. Add carrots and pineapple and mix well. Pour batter into 2 (9-inch) greased and floured cake pans. Bake 25 to 35 minutes or until done.
2. To prepare frosting, combine butter and cream cheese; beat well, about 2 minutes. Add sugars and vanilla and beat well. Frost cake.