Parfait! Best! Carrot Cake

06aCarrotCakeSlicebfLOLove him or loathe him, Bobby Flay and his team make One. Fine. Carrot Cake.

And now I do, too.

When we first saw him make this cake, on Throwdown, a few years back, Rich asked if I would make it for his birthday cake that year. Well, I didn’t go out and buy the organic cane sugar, or the brown muscavado Bobby called for, but I did set about making my own Marshmallow Fluff for the cream cheese and fluff frosting!

FluffDonebfLOThe cake was good.

The fluff? A nice addition to the frosting, but not really necessary, in my mebbe not no humble opinion.

The cake is the star here, especially with the fresh ginger, powdered ginger, light and dark crystallized ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves (my addition to Mr. Flay’s 03bCakePansPreparebfLOmasterpiece). The pineapple keeps things moist, but the spices keep things interesting.

For the cake pans:
Whisk together one tablespoon each of solid shortening, flour, and cooking oil, then paint your chosen cake pans. Works a treat.

•1/4 cup melted unsalted butter, cooled
•1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple, drained
•3 large eggs
•1/2 cup veggie oil
•2 tsp vanilla
•1 lb carrots, peeled and grated (about 3 cups, lightly packed)
•2 tsp freshly grated ginger
•2 cups flour
•1-1/2 cup sugar
01aGingerCarrotPineapplebf•1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
•2 tsp baking soda
•1 ground cinnamon
•1/2 tsp ground cloves
•1/2 tsp ground ginger
•1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
•1 tsp salt
•1/3 cup finely diced crystallized ginger
•3/4 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans (optional)

Cream Cheese Frosting:*
•2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese,
•1/2 cup butter, softened
•5 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
•1 tsp vanilla

04cCreamCheeseFrostingbf*Note: the cream cheese frosting is good, but will come out rather soft. For best results, make it the day before you plan on making the cake, and stash it in the fridge to firm up.

First, make the frosting by creaming the softened butter with the cream cheese in your mixer with the whisk attachment.

Add the vanilla, then the confectioners’ sugar and beat until nicely whipped.

02aCarrotCakeMixingbfAs you can see, nice frosting, but soft. Transfer it to a bowl, cover tightly, and stash in the fridge for at least four hours, or, much more better, I think, overnight.

Frosting nicely chilling, it’s time to make the cake. Heat the oven to 350º, then ‘paint’ your cake pans of choice with the flour/shortening/oil mixture and set aside. I’ve made this both as a layer cake with two round cake pans and in a 13×9 pan for ease of travel, it’s all good.

02bCarrotCakeMixbfPulse your well-drained crushed pineapple in the food processor fitted with the metal blade until it is really crushed. If you’re concerned about dragging out the processor for just this step, know that I cheat and toss my coarsely chopped carrots into the processor and finish the ‘shredding’ process with the aid of the metal blade, so the pineapple is just batting clean up.

Beat the eggs in the bowl of your mixer for about ten seconds using the standard, or paddle, attachment, then add the oil, 03aCarrotCakeBatterbfquarter cup of melted butter, vanilla, carrots, chopped pineapple and grated fresh ginger and continue mixing until combined.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, sugars, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt until combined.

Add to the wet ingredients in the mixing bowl and beat on low speed just until combined. Fold in the crystallized ginger and, if you’re using them, the pecans.

03bCarrotCakeBakedbfDivide the batter between the prepared cake pan(s) and bake for 40 to 55 minutes, until the cakes are richly golden-brown, and a toothpick in the center comes out mostly clean, with mebbe just a few moist crumbs attached. For a 13×9 pan, add about ten minutes or so to the cooking time.

If using a glass baking pan: baking sites recommend reducing baking temp to 325º.

05bCarrotCakebfRemove the cooked cakes from the oven and cool in the pans on a rack for 15 minutes before inverting and popping them out of the pans – see? I told you that cake pan coating works great!

Set the cakes aside to cool completely on the racks before frosting.

This cake was planned for a gathering with some folk who are allergic to nuts, so I omitted the pecans in the cake with no adverse effect, and decorated the top with some seasonal jimmies and candy corn in place of sliced almonds. Store the frosted cake in the fridge or, this time of year around here, a cool garage works, too.

Nice. And Rich, who doesn’t even like candy corn, thought it a tasty addition to the cake.

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