December 22nd, 2009

Olive Oil Carrot Cake, belated blog birthday post

carrotcake 1

One Year Old. (not the cake….the blog!)

I hadn’t intended for this post to be a dessert one, but suddenly, in the whirl of The Season, I realized that this little Good Food Matters blog had passed a milestone. A whole year old on the 16th. (!)

So, in honor of It–the persistence of its existence—and You, the persistent dear reader, I present this most delicious cake, recently made for our friends visiting from Italy, and their guests.

Now, there are carrot cakes, and there are Carrot Cakes. I took my long-time, well-proven recipe and tweaked it by substituting fruity olive oil for the common, neutral vegetable oil. What a difference!

The result was extraordinary—the richness of the olive oil enhanced and deepened the spicing of the cake, while retaining moist texture.

That, coupled with raisins, organic carrots, which are sweeter, and you can effectively cut back on the sugar. (Had there been pineapple in the house, I would have included 1/2 cup of diced bits, too.) My original recipe called for 2 cups, but I found that 1 1/2 cups total, combining both brown and white sugar, was just right. However, if you like a sweeter cake, boost the sugar back up to 2. It’s okay.

This recipe will make two 9″ layers, or one 9″x13″ rectangle. For my friends’ party, I doubled the recipe to make this grand confection.

The cream cheese icing is rather silky, luxurious, and also not-too-sweet. Fresh lemon juice and zest, along with vanilla, enliven the butter-cream cheese blend. Be sure that both are soft before you cream them together—that way they will marry smoothly.

After the two are well blended, I add the lemon and vanilla. The flavors infuse better. Confectioners sugar is added last, which you are welcome to increase to your taste. I like that dulcet tang to come through, and so am judicious with adding the powdery stuff.

So, here’s to a blog birthday, and all the season’s best.

From here at Good Food Matters,
I wish you all love, health, and happiness,
and, of course,

good food and company.

Cheers!

yummy carrotcake slice

Olive Oil Carrot Cake

1 cup Olive Oil
3 cups shredded Carrots
1 1/2 to 2 cups Sugar—divide equally between Brown and White
4 eggs
1/2 cup Pecans
1/2 cup Raisins
2 cups All Purpose Flour
2 t. Baking Powder
1 t. Baking Soda
1 t. Salt
2 t. Cinnamon
1 t. Nutmeg
1 t. Ginger
1/2 t. Cloves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and lightly coat 2 9 inch cake pans.
Using a mixer, blend all the “wet” ingredients together. Add raisins and pecans, pineapple too, if you like. (These ingredients are optional. You can make it simply carrot.)

Add dry ingredients and mix until all are well-incorporated.
Pour into baking pans, and place into the middle of the oven. Bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until center tests done.

Allow to cool. Remove from pans. Let cool further before icing.
Note: This cake freezes well. It also stays moist for a long time, wrapped, so you can safely make the cake in advance.

Cream Cheese Icing
12 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
4 oz. (1 stick) Butter, softened
3 T. (or more) fresh Lemon Juice
1 T. Lemon Zest
1 T. Vanilla
1 1/2 cups Confectioners Sugar

Using an electric mixer (I am fortunate to have a Kitchen Aid stand mixer–and I use the paddle attachment for this.) cream the softened butter and cream cheese together. Add lemon juice, zest, and vanilla and mix well. Add the confectioners sugar–about 1/2 cup at a time, mixing until smooth.

Taste for lemon and vanilla, as well as sweetness; add more as you see fit.

carrotcake 2

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