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Glorious Carrot Cake: it really is a salad in camouflage…

Of all the blog posts I publish, desserts are by far the favourite ones! There is something so attractive about everything «sweet»! I think most of us show some restraint when it comes to eating desserts but I think of all the recipes available in the world, dessert recipes draw the most attention, drools and yummy thoughts! I suspect it is because sweet endings are viewed as naughty foods right? Just looking and dreaming right? I mean, we really should eat vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains and good oils daily for optimal health…  And for us omnivores, meat should be consumed in moderation… And we really, really should not eat dessert!?! Sugar has become the evil child recently (with reason) but nevertheless, I think we will always have this love hate relationship with sweet stuff! And just like with the consumption of red meat, I say sugar should be consumed in moderation (and not everyday). Yes, in moderation… AND when we do end up eating dessert, it should be delectably, sinfully delicious!! Forget factory made cakes with a questionably long shelf life and a never-ending list of weirdo ingredients. Nooooo, let’s not eat those, they are nasty LOL! Instead, splurge and dive right into the heavenly goodies your mom, grandma, auntie, sister, best bud (the male equivalent of all these titles as well) or your favourite neighborhood sweet shop have lovingly baked! Let’s face it, even those who do not have a real sweet tooth can’t help but be lured by the smell of freshly baked desserts!

In the heydays of my café ownership life, we lured (yes, we were sneaky like that) our clientele in with 2 things: the aroma of freshly baked goodies and bacon! Yup, bacon was as famous back then as it is now although the internet makes us believe it is a new fad or concept. Whatever: we oldies have known the power of sizzling bacon for a very long time. Anyhow, I digress… Back when I worked 14 hour days 6 days a week running my little shop, fresh «out of the oven» treats were my claim to fame. Lucky for me, I not only had my own arsenal of yummy recipes to pick and chose from, I also had access to a slew of amazing dessert recipes shared by my right hand woman, Laura SC. I have mentioned Laura’s talent and amazing recipes in past articles. I think she deserves a lot of kudos for her ability to whip up some of the best food I have eaten. As a matter of fact, some recipes that Laura has shared with me back then have become family classics such as this unbelievably moist carrot cake. And if you knew Laura, not only would you want her to bake for you, you would want to become her bud: she has that «bigger than life» magnetic personality,  is full of «joie de vivre», has a contagious laugh and is loved by everyone!!! Since you may not have the opportunity to be served one of Laura’s awesome treats, you will have to enjoy her baker’s touch by osmosis by baking yourself this carrot cake!

You can trust this recipe: it has been whipped together more time than most recipes are tested for any publication. It is quite easy to make but beware: once served to your loved ones, it will be requested over and over again. Until you can make it in your sleep LOL! Yes, the pictures are sparse: I only took a picture of the cake coming out of the oven and of a piece covered in sinfully delicious cream cheese icing.

Scrolling down beyond the recipe, I have included a few shots on how to easily line a rectangular (or square) pan with parchment baking paper. As usual, your comments on my recipes are always appreciated.  And frankly, since 2 cups of grated carrots and crushed pineapple are used here, I think this recipe should really be labelled salad, not cake!!! Happy baking to all.

Laura SC’s Infamous Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

What you need: (icing recipe follows)

How to make it:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350ºF and set rack to middle position
  2. Grease and line with baking paper a standard size rectangular pan, 9X13 (pictures follow at the end of the recipe)
  3. In one bowl, mix together using a whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon and set aside
  4. In a large bowl, with a hand-held or stand-up electric mixer, cream together the oil and the sugar until fluffy.
  5. Add the eggs one at a time until well combined and fluffy.
  6. Add the flour mixture and blend until incorporate.
  7. Gently fold in the grated carrots and drained pineapple on low-speed or by hand
  8. Spread batter in prepared pan.
  9. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until tester comes out clean
  10. Let cool completely before taking out of pan and icing

Cream Cheese Icing

What you need

*this recipe makes enough to ice the top of two cakes or to fill and ice a layered cake. It keeps well in the refrigerator for a few weeks and taste awesome on top of muffins and cinnamon buns…

How to make it:

In a large mixing bowl, using a hand-held or stand-up electric mixer, cream together the cream cheese and the butter until well combined and smooth. Add icing sugar and vanilla and starting at the slowest setting, gently mix in the sugar, increasing the speed as the sugar incorporates. Starting slow will prevent a puff of white sugar to pop out of the bowl and mess up the entire kitchen! Once the sugar is well incorporated, whip the icing at a higher speed until creamy and fluffy! Refrain from eating by the spoonful until you have iced your cake!

Lining a cake pan

Grease pan first with butter or oil

Trace the shape of your pan on a piece of baking parchment paper

Fold at the lines

using a scissor, make one cut at each of the four corners. This will create a small flap.

Fold again, this should give a nicely shaped rectangle that will fit your pan perfectly

Dab a bit of oil or butter on the «flaps» to secure them in place. Your pan is now ready.