My friend Pat brought over a delicious homemade Carrot Cake for our annual holiday dinner. Recently we were invited to another get together and I said I’ll bring dessert! I reached out to Pat and asked her for the Carrot Cake recipe.
She retrieved the recipe from her “The New Irish Table” by Margaret M. Johnson. The recipe comes from the Farmgate Café Restaurant and Country Store in County Cork, Ireland. After reading the recipe I could hardly believe that the only liquid in the recipe was eggs with only one cup of flour an NO salt. I also thought well this would be a good one to help learning bakers make something this easy.
There is a lot of prep, not gonna lie. But it is so worth it.
Remember Mise En Place? This is your test
Preheat the oven to 325 and grease an 8×8” sq baking pan. Now back-in-the-day you would also have to flour it, but I went by the instructions as a first time use of this recipe. When you cook with butter, I usually store the tiny little guy in a small “glad” container. It’s easy to grease the pan with that small amount.
Time to grate the Carrots. There are two ways you can do that, using the box grater or your small appliance Cuisinart chopper. I did both. I would however warn you that the little carrots are NOT conducive to grating on the box grater if you want to keep the tips of your fingers. I grated three on there and called it quits. I then turned to my chopper. Done in a flash.
The pineapple. I thought I picked up the 8 oz can of crushed pineapple. Nope, I picked up the 8 oz slices. So I used my Cuisinart chopper again to make crushed after I had drained the slices. I then placed it into the sieve to extract more juice. Before I used it I placed it on double paper towels into a small bowl to drain some more.
Next I needed to sift the spices, baking soda and flour. I measured and placed them all in the sieve. Using a spoon I stirred it up a bit then forced it through the sieve. It is at this moment I realized I had measured all teaspoons of all the spices which was way too much. I had to redo the sifting with the correct measurements. That would have been an over-the-top Carrot Cake.
Next, measure out your raisins, nuts and carrots using dry measuring utensils. Crack your eggs into a small bowl so you don’t have any shells in them. Measure your sugar using a dry measure and your oil using a liquid measure. NOW you’re ready to assemble the cake.
Using your whisk attachment of your electric mixer beat the sugar, oil and eggs until smooth. Add the flour mixture a little at a time till all combined. Add the raisins, carrots, walnuts and pineapple using slow speed.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Smooth it out. Now some bakers like you to drop the darn pan onto the counter top easing the air bubbles out of the batter while you beat the heck out of your granite countertop. I, however do not like to slowly destroy my countertop. Place your pan into the center of your baking rack.
This is where you need to know something about your oven and your bakeware. My bakeware runs on the fast baking track. My oven, may run hot as well. So I always have to test the time for baking. The recipe calls to bake it for 45 to 55 minutes. I set the timer for 40 so I could check it. Well right around the 30 min mark, the cake started to smell done. I looked, and thought no way. About 3 or 4 minutes later the cake smelled DONE. Sure enough it was. I pulled it out, did the ole cake tester test and it was done. That was a good 10 minutes before the early done time. TRUST your nose too.
While the cake is baking I’m cleaning up my hot mess by washing all the utensils and appliances. I needed the sieve, the mixer whisk, and the bowl clean along with the dry measures. I was preparing to make the Cream Cheese icing.
Through the years I’ve made a lot of icing. The recipe is very basic but doesn’t provide any liquid, vanilla, or pinch of salt. I was nervous when it started to cream together that it was SO thick. I added 1 Tablespoon of half n half, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla, and just a pinch of kosher salt just to relieve my anxiety. Also I don’t usually sift the powdered sugar, I did for this one, because I believe my Kitchenaid mixer can beat up those tiny lumps of confectioners sugar, and secondly I use fresh confectioners sugar – usually much softer.
To frost the cake I used an offset spatula. It allows you to not get your fingers in the frosting because it is slightly lifted.
I raised my hand to bring desert because I was working. I made this in the morning and set it up for hubby to place in the car. Dinner was outstanding and the cake just topped it off. Definitely on my favorites list.
The original recipe. Farmgate Carrot Cake
- ½ c granulated sugar
- 2/3 c sunflower oil, I used canola
- 3 eggs, I used 3 extra large
- 1 c all-purpose flour
- 1 t baking soda
- 2 t ground cinnamon
- ½ t ground nutmeg, fresh is best
- ¾ c grated carrots
- 1 c chopped walnuts
- ½ c golden raisins
- One 8 oz can crushed pineapple, drained
Preheat the oven to 325. Grease an 8×8” sq baking pan.
In an electric mixer, combine the sugar, oil, and eggs. Beat until smooth. Sift the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves together. Add to the oil mixture and beat until well combined. Stir in the carrots, walnuts, raisins, and pineapple. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until the top is browned and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack Remove the cake from the pan and transfer to a serving plate for icing.
Cream Cheese Icing
- 1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1/2 c cream cheese at room temperature
- 1 c confectioners’ sugar, sifted
In an electric mixer, combine the butter and cream cheese and beat until smooth. Spread the icing over the cake and cut into squares to serve.
Utensils used: Offset spatula, Cake tester, rasp, 1 cup liquid measure, dry measuring cups, measuring spoons, large sieve, small and large silicone spatulas, wooden spoon.
Appliances: Kitchenaid mixer, whisk attachment, Cuisinart Chopper.
Bakeware: 8×8 sq cake pan