Friday, February 12, 2010

For My Valentine

Every Valentine's Day, I make a heart shaped dessert for our Valentine's dinner at home. This year, I made The Hubs favorite, Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting!

You all know that I'm a firm believer in "If the box mix is just as good, no need to make it from scratch." Well, carrot cake is one of those you just can't make from a box mix. So here is my (ahem, my mom's) recipe.

Carrot Cake


* 2 cups sugar
* 1 1/3 cups oil
* 3 eggs
* 3/4 tsp. salt
* 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
* 2 tsp. cinnamon
* 2 tsp. vanilla
* 2 1/2 cups flour
* 2 1/2 cups grated carrots


1. Grate carrots. Tip: 2 1/2 cups is about a 1 lb. bag.

2. Using an electric mixer, combine sugar, oil, eggs, salt, soda, cinnamon & vanilla.

3. Slowly mix in flour a little at a time.

4. Add carrots & stir until just combined.

5. Grease pans with butter & then coat with flour OR use my new favorite, Bakers Joy.

6. Pour batter into pans, filling only 2/3 of the way full.

7. Bake at 355 degrees. Baking time will vary depending on the type of pan you use. Bundt pans take about 1 hr. My hearts took about 35-40 minutes. The cake is done when it springs back when touched or a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with only moist crumbs on it. Check your cake every so often to make sure it doesn't get over done. Don't worry about how the cake looks. It's going to get covered with frosting anyway.

8. Remove the cake from the oven & cool in the pan for 10 - 15 minutes. Remove cake from pan and let the cake cool completely on a wire rack.

9. Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting


* 1 - 8oz. package cream cheese
* 1/4 cup margarine, softened
* 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
* 1 box powdered sugar


1. Using an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese & margarine.
2. Add the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time (so it doesn't fly everywhere).
3. Add vanilla. Beat on high until fluffy.

How To Frost The Cake

I'll be really honest with you...I'm not that great at frosting cakes. There is probably a much better way to do it, but I start by putting a large blob of frosting on the top of the take. Then I use an icing (or offset) spatula to spread the frosting around the top & down the sides.

My Tid-Bits:

* Please note: Since this cake has a cream cheese frosting, it is best that you store it in the refrigerator.

* This is a very versatile cake when it comes to shape. You can do a bundt pan, 13x9 pan, two 8 or 9" rounds, etc. I made 3 small hearts using spring form pans. I poured the left over batter into a 9" round to make a cake to be frozen & eaten later.

* You may notice in the pictures that I left the hearts on the spring form pan bottoms and put a piece of cardboard covered foil under the round. I did that to make frosting them easier. Typically, I would put the cake on my cake stand & frost it there, but since the round is going in the freezer & the hearts will be traveling in a car, I put them on something more portable.

* To freeze your cake: Once the cake is frosted, put it in the freezer (uncovered) for 1 hr. Remove the cake from the freezer, wrap the cake in 2 layers of plastic wrap, then 1 layer of aluminum foil. Return to freezer. When you are ready to eat your cake, simply put it in the refrigerator overnight to defrost.

* Sprinkles are good for covering up mediocre frosting skills.


P.S. Baking Cakes + Making Shrimp Creole + Making Crab Stuffed Mushrooms all at one time = MESSY KITCHEN.

I'd tell you that my kitchen doesn't end up looking like this often, but The Hubs would tell you I was lying.

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