Carrot Cake with White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
- 2 cups flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp cloves
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 2 cups shredded carrots
- 1 cut shredded or flaked coconut, unsweetened
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 can, 398ml (13 oz) crushed pineapple, with juice
- 1 cup sultana raisins
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 cup whole fat buttermilk
- 3/4 cup canola oil
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract Icing
- 340g (12 oz) cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 290g (oz) bar white chocolate, broken
- 4-6 cups icing sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
DirectionsWhisk or sift together the top six ingredients (dry ingredients) in a large bowl. Mix together the next five ingredients (carrots, coconut, walnuts, pineapple, raisins) in a medium bowl. Mix together the final five ingredients (wet ingredients) in a small to medium bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix lightly until the dry ingredients have just moistened. Fold the carrot mixture into the batter and until consistently mixed. Pour the batter into greased and papered cake tin(s). Bake at 350ºF/177ºC until toothpick comes out clean (~25min for 6″ cake tins. Cool fully. Whip cream cheese and butter together add 1/2 cup icing sugar, whip. Melt white chocolate, pour slowly into icing while whipping. Add vanilla. Add remaining icing sugar cup by cup until desired consistency.
And now for the details…
Okaaaaay, so it seems super biased and a bit self-absorbed to call this my favourite carrot cake when… I’m… writing about it. Okay, so I swear I’m not that much of a narcissist. I did not create the recipe for this carrot cake. In fact, I found it online over a decade ago when I was looking for a carrot cake recipe that had ALL THE STUFF. Not just some light cake with a tad bit of cinnamon and carrots, but a toothy, rich, almost-worthy-of-a-meal concoction. And there it was. “Sam’s Famous Carrot Cake“. *heavenly sounds, rays of light, rainbows, and unicorns* And it is, in fact, still there to this day, as you can see by the hyperlink. Before even attempting to make it for the first time, I was already in love. Carrots. And pineapple. And coconut. And walnuts. And raisins. Seriously, I am drooling just listing this off. How can one even begin to enjoy a carrot cake that is simply carrots and cake??? Not when you can have this divine panoply that is… *royal trumpets sound* Sam’s Famous Carrot Cake.
Is there any way to boost this recipe even more? How about amping up the spices, and adding white chocolate cream cheese frosting to the mix? That sounds about right to me. So let’s do it.
We are going to start by mixing all our dry ingredients together. I use a wire strainer to do my sifting, and sift together the flour and baking soda into a large bowl, then whisk in the salt and spices until evenly mixed.
Next, shred your carrots and add them to a separate bowl. To that bowl, add in the coconut, walnuts, pineapple (do not drain!), and raisins. Stir these ingredients together until it is evenly blended.
Next, mix together all the wet ingredients (eggs, buttermilk, oil, sugar and vanilla) in a third, smaller bowl. Now is also a good time to preheat the oven to 350ºF so it is ready to go when the cake tins are filled.
Mix the dry and wet ingredients together until the dry ingredients are just moistened. This will ensure we do not “overwork” the batter.
Next, stir in the carrot mixture, just until all the ingredients are fairly evenly blended.
Before we pour the batter into the cake tins, we need to prepare the tins for baking. Some people will just butter the tins. Others will butter, then flour the base. For me, my mom passed on how she baked cakes, which is to bake them with the tins buttered and a piece of waxed or parchment paper cut to just the right size to fit the bottom of the pan. I have tried the other methods, but this one has been the only tried and true to avoid chunks of cake falling out when I am removing the baked cake from its tin. The tins I used for this cake were three 6″ tins, but two 9″ tins would work fine, or if you are interested in a pan, a 9″x13″ pan should work as well. Baking time, of course, will need to be adjusted for the different kinds of tins.
Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Run a knife around the edges of the tines, then turn the cakes out onto a cooling rack and remove the waxed or parchment paper. Let them cool completely before frosting.
Next, we make the frosting. The cream cheese and butter need to be room temperature and soft in order to blend well. When they are soft, whip the two together until smooth. I add a bit of the icing sugar (about 1/2 cup) to them, as it seems to help cut through the cream cheese and the two blend more easily together.
Before adding the rest of the icing sugar, we will add the white chocolate. The white chocolate I used for this recipe is from Choklat, a chocolatier… sorry: chocolate maker (there is a difference! Did you know that most of the chocolatiers you know do not actually make their own chocolate?) in my city, whose chocolate I have become a bit obsessed with since they opened around the same time I first moved here. The smell of the store as you walk in to make your purchase is understated if its called mouth-watering. And the chocolate… oh, the chocolate. When they moved their store to a new location, it was a bit out of the way for me. But luckily, I recently discovered that my local grocery store is stocking a few choice offerings, score! For this recipe, I am using their white chocolate, which is actually a bit of a beige colour. They actually explain this on their label: white chocolate should not be purely white. Good quality cocoa butter is not white. Good quality vanilla is not white. Therefore, the resulting mix the creates white chocolate should be a luscious, melting, delicious off-white.
We will use a bain-marie, to melt the chocolate more consistently and avoid scorching or burning it while melting. I used a metal bowl on a small pot of simmering water (the bowl should sit over the water, not touching it), stirring constantly as the chocolate melted all the way through. I added this to my cream cheese and butter, and mixed it in completely.
Finally, whip in the vanilla, then the remaining icing sugar, adding a bit of sugar (about 1 cup) at a time until you get your desired consistency (slowing the mixer speed in between each additions, of course; I prefer to not have my entire kitchen dusted in powdered sugar.)
Finally, it is time to frost the cake. Because I put the cake into 6″ tins, they cakes ended up quite thick. So I cut each of them in half, ending up with two cakes: one a two-layer and the other a four-layer. A local bakery has provided the amazing idea of garnishing the frosted carrot cakes with pumpkin seeds, dried apricots, and raisins, resulting in an added crunch and bite to the cake that is beyond… just… beyond.
Finally, cut and enjoy.