Producer Amanda just had a birthday and I wanted to make her a cake and cupcakes, her favorite cake is Carrot cake, uh-oh I’ve never made a carrot cake from scratch! Ive made one from the box! So I searched for a recipe that sounded good and was easy since it would be my first from scratch carrot cake and I didn’t want it to totally suck for Amanda, she is such a sweetheart it had to be good!! The recipe has a lot of ingredients but don’t let that fool you it’s really easy to make.
For the cupcakes Amanda likes vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting but not too sweet. I found an awesome recipe for the cupcakes, I came across LOTS of recipes that promised their cupcakes were SO moist, I tried one of those many recipes that had LOTS of ingredients and steps and those cupcakes SUCKED!! That brings us to the awesome recipe I found and will be my go to recipe for vanilla cupcakes, SO moist and good and super easy to make sometimes it’s the simplest recipe that makes the best product!! Hope you like all these recipes!! Enjoy!
Moist Vanilla Cupcakes( from www.tastebook.com) makes about 12 cupcakes.
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a mediumsized bowl, cream together the shortening and white sugar, then beat in the egg and vanilla until its light and fluffy. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt, stir into the creamed mixture alternately with the milk. Put your cupcake liners in a cupcake pan and fill the liners halfway with the cupcake batter.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Place the cupcakes on a rack to cool.
Icing (from www.lifeloveandsugar.com)
½ cup butter ( I used unsalted butter)
½ cup shortening
4 cups powdered sugar ( I used 2 cups, if you want it sweeter use the 4!)
2-3 tbsp water or cream (I used cream, 2 tbsp)
1 tsp vanilla extract (for more vanilla flavor you can add 1 more tsp of vanilla if you do that you may have to add a tad bit more powdered sugar or use less cream so the frosting can still be thick enough)
Mix the butter and shortening until smooth. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and mix until smooth, then add the vanilla and water or cream and once again mix until smooth. If you want to add the other 2 cups of powdered sugar this is where you would do it and mix until smooth, you might have to add more cream or water until you have the desired consistency that you want for your frosting.
Easy Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting (from www.chow.com)
For the cake:
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon fine salt
4 large eggs
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
½ cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
½ cup whole-milk yogurt
1 ½ pounds carrots, peeled and grated on the large holes of a box grater or with a metal grating attachement in a food processor, or do what I did and buy the already peeled and grated carrots!! (you will end up with about 5 cups)
1 cup walnut halves (about 3 ounces)
Heat oven to 350 and arrange a rack in the middle.
Place flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and salt in a large bowl and whisk break up any lumps, then set aside.
In a large bowl whisk the eggs, sugars, oil and yogurt until the eggs are broken up and the mixture is thoroughly combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour mixture until just combined. Stir in those carrots until mixed evenly.
Pour the batter into a 13 by 9 inch glass baking dish, no need to coat the bottom with butter, smoothing it into the corners with the rubber spatula. After it has baked for 20 minutes rotate the dish and keep baking until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out dry with just a few crumbs about 40-50 minutes total. Once its done cool completely on a wire rack. Cool for at least 2 hours before frosting the cake.
Meanwhile toast the walnuts on a baking sheet until lightly browned and fragrant, about 10 minutes, transfer the nuts to a cutting board to cool just a bit and then coarsely chop them set aside. ( I ended up with no nuts cause I let them toast too long! Wasn’t paying attention but I am sure this is a great addition to the cake!)
For the frosting:
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese (1 pound), at room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment place the butter and cream cheese and beat on medium high speed until light, fluffy and fully incorporated, about 3 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle with a rubber spatula. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla, turn the mixer to low and mix until the sugar is incorporated. Once again stop the mixer and scrape down the sides, then turn the mixer to medium high speed and mix until the frosting is creamy and fluffy about 3 minutes.
Once the cake is cooled spread all of the frosting evenly on the cake and then sprinkle with your toasted nuts. If you arent’ going to eat the cake within 4 hours be sure to cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Before serving let the cake sit at room temperature for about 45 minutes that’s to take the chill off!
Have fun baking!!!