April 02, 2010

Celebrate Easter With Kitchen Sink Carrot Cake

my kind of easter basket

In my world, Easter means Whopper's Robin Eggs and Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Eggs, both of which are only available this time of year.  I've been known to stock up so I can enjoy both of these scrumptous treats into the summer season.  In fact, I think I still have some Robin Eggs from last year.  I wonder if there's a name for my craziness.  One of my other favorite Easter related treats is carrot cake.  I guess it's because bunnies eat carrots, and Easter's unoffical mascot is a bunny, so it sort of works.  And who can resist a moist cake filled with goodies and topped with cream cheese frosting.  I usually can't resist anything with cream cheese frosting.

Carrot cake isn't without controversy.  Nope, it's not that innocent.  There's those who think that carrot cake should be eaten pure, free from pathogens such as raisins or nuts.  Then there's the group that only wants nuts, or preach raisins only.  I say to heck with all of them.  It's Easter and all carrot cake rules are meant to be broken.  I came across this recipe a few weeks ago, and had a burning desire to try it my way.  My way consists of the following:

*toasted pecans
*toasted sweetened coconut
*candied ginger bites
*rum soaked raisins

Please feel free to add or subtract anything you like from my list.  My responsible side will note that rum soaked raisins should be saved for a twenty-one and over crowd.  There, that's my legalese for these recipe, so don't say I didn't warn ya.  Now go out, get creative, and create the carrot cake masterpiece of your dreams.  And have a Happy Easter everyone.  Enjoy the time with family, loved ones, and your new best friend, the carrot cake.

carrot cake cupcakes

"Kitcken Sink" Carrot Cake
Adapted from King Arthur Flour

4 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup melted butter
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspace
3 1/2 cups (1lb) grated carrots (fine or course depending on preference)
1 cup chopped nuts, toasted
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut, toasted
1/2 candied ginger bites
3/4 cup raisins
1 cup Myers Dark Rum (adult cake eaters only)

6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons milk, or enough to make frosting spreadable

  • Pour 1 cup Myers Dark Rum into a small bowl.  Add raisins and allow to soak for at least 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Lightly grease (I recommend Pam Baking Spray with flour) a 9" x 13" pan if making a cake, or line your muffin pan with cupcake liners.
  • Toast nuts and coconut either in a skillet, or in the oven.  Do not leave these items alone while toasting, they will go from toasted to burnt in a few seconds.  Let each one cool.  Grate carrots and put aside.
  • Beat the eggs, sugars and vanilla in a large mixing bowl until smooth, about two minutes at medium speed.
  • Mix the melted butter with the oil.  With the beater running, add the oil mixture in a stream, beating until smooth.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, leaveners (baking soda and powder), salt, and spices.  Add these dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring to make a smooth batter.
  • Stir in your add-ins, in this case the carrots, nuts, coconut, ginger and drained raisins.
  • Spoon the batter into the cake pan or cupcake liners. 
  • Bake the cake for 40 to 50 minutes until the cake is golden brown.  For cupcakes, 20 to 25 minutes.  Or in either case - until a cake tester (toothpick in my case) comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven and cool completely.  Take out butter and cream cheese for the frosting from the refrigerator. 
  • After the cake or cupcakes has cooled, make the frosting.
  • Combine the butter, creamcheese, vanilla and salt in a medium sized bowl and beat together until light and fluffy.  Add the sugar gradually, beating well.  Add the milk a little at a time, until the frosting is a spreadable consistancy.  If you get it a little too runny, add a bit more powdered sugar.
  • Spread frosting.  Garnish with toasted coconut, sprinkles, or whatever you like!

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