Welcome to yet another Monday. Enjoy it, because after this week, it’s time for Thanksgiving Day preparation, and you know how much fun that can be. I don’t mean to be a huge downer – I really do love Thanksgiving, but with the excitement comes stress, so just remember to take in this last holiday-less week. Kramer and I went to see Argo on Friday; I really liked it. I have always been a sucker for Ben Affleck and I think he did another great job directing. John Goodman and Alan Arkin were fantastic, too. Saturday, we sucked it up and went into Manhattan. I typically avoid the city on the weekends. It’s crowded, the trains run slower, and honestly, there’s no reason to go unless I really need something, like glasses, which was this trip’s main purpose. I luckily found a new pair at the first store we went into, which never, ever happens, so I chalked that one up to a victory for me. We treated ourselves to brunch at DBGB, since we knew shopping in SoHo was going to be miserable, and I think that the food definitely helped us make it through. We had a soft boiled and crispy fried egg over mushrooms and salsify with perfectly chewy bread, lamb sausage with spinach and chickpeas, and a croque madam made with the most buttery and light brioche ever. I also had a pilsner mixed with lemon and juniper soda that we unbelievably good – I have to figure out how to make it at home. After the city, we came home and relaxed on the couch, ordered some sushi for dinner, and went to a friend’s birthday party. We stayed out a bit later than we had anticipated, but I still woke up early enough on Sunday to watch SNL (I have no idea who Bruno Mars is, but he did a good job) then do some cooking and baking. The weather was gorgeous and the sun was shining all weekend, so you can’t ask for more than that.
This carrot cake is from one of my new favorite cookbooks, The Mile End Cookbook and Mile End Sandwich was two of my favorite spots in New York. Their sandwiches, salads, and desserts are out of this world, so after making their brisket with red wine and prunes, I knew I had to go for this carrot cake next. I think I had only made carrot cake once before, but this one was certainly superior. The cake itself is simple; no raisins, no nuts, just spiced, aromatic cake with plenty of freshly grated carrots, sandwiched between layers of sweet, but not too sweet, cream cheese frosting. The cake holds up well to decoration, and best of all, will keep well in your fridge for almost an entire week. I even recommend freezing a slice to warm up on one of those days where you just need a treat. We served this cake to our friends and everyone had scraped their plates clean, which is the universal sign for “this was good”. I will definitely be heading back into the Mile End book to check out their other cake recipes, because this one was a clear winner.
Peel and grate your carrots, whisk together your dry ingredients, and make your batter.
Pour the batter into your cake pans and bake until golden and set, then allow to cool.
Throw a crumb layer on that sucker and let it chill.
Decorate and slice!
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- 1½ cups vegetable or canola oil
- 1 pound (about 5) large carrots, peeled and grated
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1¼ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- pinch of ground cloves
- 16 ounces cream cheese (usually 2 packages), room temperature
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- pinch of kosher salt
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- roughly chopped walnuts, for garnish
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottom of your cake pan(s) with a circle of parchment paper, then grease the pans well with cooking spray or butter. You can use 1 12-inch cake pan or 2 8-inch cake pans - I used the 2 pans, obviously.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the eggs and sugars and mix until the sugar has dissolved. Add in the oil very, very slowly, mixing or processing until the oil starts to emulsify a bit. Add in the grated carrots and mix until incorporated.
- Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, then add it to the egg and oil mixture until just moistened and evenly combined. Pour the cake batter into your prepared pan(s). Bake, rotating the pans halfway through baking time, until the cake is golden brown and set (when a toothpick is inserted, it should come out clean), about 25-30 minutes. Allow the cake to cool completely on a wire rack before removing it from the pan(s).
- Combine the cream cheese, powdered sugar, salt, sour cream, and vanilla extract, in a stand mixer fitted with your whisk attachment (or, alternatively, you can use some serious elbow grease). Beat for a solid 5 minutes or so, until the mixture is light and airy.
- To assemble the cake, first, if you are using 2 layers, place the first layer on a cake stand or a plate and put about ⅓ of the frosting on top of the flat side of the cake. Spread it out evenly, then place the 2nd layer on top. Frost the cake with a light layer of frosting - this is the "crumb" layer, so you just want a really thin base to keep the crumbs from showing through the final layer. Place the cake and its crumb layer in the fridge for 10 minutes or so, to firm up, then finish frosting whichever way you like. Decorate with walnuts or whatever else you like and place back in the fridge for 20 minutes before slicing and serving. This cake will keep well in an airtight container, refrigerated, for up to 5 days.