Sunday, April 22, 2012

Avo Ana's Carrot Cake

I absolutely love when food can take you back to an awesome memory, time and place. Food not only has the incredible ability to bring people together it can also make the least creative person feel like an artist standing in their kitchen sprinkling spices and adding a dash of this and that. For me this cake, in its sheer simplicity and warmness speaks to the first quality. The smell of it coming out of the oven, and sneaking a taste of the icing takes me back to walking into Avo Ana's house on Sundays. The pyrex sitting on the table with its plastic wrap carefully covering it always brought a smile to my face. Every Sunday my family would alternate between my grandparents houses for brunch and without a doubt, no matter what the menu, this carrot cake was always a staple when dessert came out.


It's different than your typical carrot cake recipe in that it requires only carrot and no raisins or the like. Maybe it's because I've always been partial to this cake, but I haven't found a carrot cake I like more. Its simplicity allows the flavor of cinnamon and carrot coupled with the cream cheese icing to really stand out. While this one may be simple in its ingredients and method, it is far from basic or bland when it hits your fork. Its warm, dense texture is the epitome of comfort food and the icing is INCREDIBLE. This is a prized and valued recipe in my house, and a dessert that no one can resist taking one... two... or three pieces of! From our home to yours enjoy!!

Carrot Cake (Makes 1 9" x 13" Cake)

4 eggs
2 cups of white sugar
2 cups of flour
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
3 cups of grated carrot
1 cup of oil

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F
Beat the eggs with sugar in a large bowl
Gradually add the flour and then the cinnamon
Add the shredded carrot and oil and mix until combined
Bake for 40 minutes at 375 degrees F

I have made this cake using a variety of methods. Before my amazing Mom gave me this food processor (I was going through a rough time and this was an awesome gift that brought me into the kitchen again and got my spirits up!) I would use a hand grater and grate each carrot. I've also chopped the carrot into thin, fine pieces. By far the best option if you have it, is the food processor! If you don't have one, don't despair, a hand grater is a great alternative!



I halved the recipe in the above picture. Notes on baking this volume can be found at the end of the post

Cream Cheese Icing
1 8 ounce package of cream cheese
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 1/2 cups of sifted icing sugar
1 tspn of salt

Combine all ingredients in a mixer and mix until the texture is fluffy and cohesive. It should not be thin or runny.
As a side note, salt & I are in a love hate relationship concerning this icing. It seems that whenever my Mom makes it, it works out perfectly, however it's always either too salty or not salty enough for me when I make it. Be especially careful if using non-dairy cream cheese to keep the icing pareve. The salt absorbs differently than with dairy cream cheese leaving a slightly grainy texture if too much is added or if it isn't mixed well. Start by adding a quarter teaspoon and gradually increase depending on your taste.


Good to Know...

This recipe is also great made as muffins with a tablespoon of icing on each. I often make in it my mini muffin pan and snack on them throughout the week. Adjust the baking time depending on the size and quantity of your batch. Store the icing in a tupperware in the fridge and ice cupcakes as needed.

The recipe is easily doubled or halved! It comes out just as great! I find that after halving it, it bakes best at 25 degrees lower (350) for approximately 30 minutes. I bake this cake in a pyrex dish, you may need to adjust the temperature or time depending on your dish.

The icing can be made either dairy or pareve. Non-Dairy cream cheese tends to be a little thinner than it's dairy counterpart, so I add a bit more confectioners sugar to the mix

Keep the cake covered and in the fridge when not serving

2 comments:

  1. Sounds very wonderful and simple! I love carrot cake without raisins! I agree with you about food! I have so many fond memories that are centered around food.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks so much for your sweet comment, Julie! There's nothing like a special dish to bring back memories, it's my favorite part of baking (that and trying out all sorts of treats of course!)

    ReplyDelete