I don’t bake much at all, especially since I’ve been trying to get into (a less round) shape, and have been doing a Keto diet for a while. But the other day was Jefferson’s birthday, and you can’t just let that slide without making a to-do about it. So I asked him what sort of cake he wanted me to make, and he said I didn’t have to make anything. I think he has learned already not to trust my cooking and baking, so I expected that one. He’s gonna have a lifetime of putting up with me feeding him though, so I told him I was making one regardless, so he might as well tell me what he wanted.
Last year at this time we weren’t an item yet, but I had a pretty serious crush on him, so I made him carrot cake cupcakes as a casual birthday offering. (They were also for my sister’s birthday a few days before, but let’s be honest here… it was more than half for Jeffo.) They were from a box and weren’t very good at all. But when he finally caved and told me what he wanted, it was still carrot cake. I resolved to do better and I went for the challenge. I looked at a couple recipes and decided to make it from scratch (as it should be). I also decided to try something I’ve never done before and make it a layer cake.
So here’s how I made it. I mixed and matched two different recipes together, (risky, I know) and ended up with a recipe of my own. Personally, I thought it was a really impressive cake, and I’m not even a cake person. But I ate more than my share of it, my family had some, and Jefferson finished the rest.
Here’s my adapted recipe.
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tbsp canola oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract (2 if you use imitation)
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon (I may have used sliiightly more)
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg (probably used more of this too)
a pinch of ground cloves
1 lb finely grated fresh carrots (I used baby carrots and slightly over 1lb)
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (I used a little of both)
1 20oz can crushed pineapple (and use some of the juice too)
Preheat oven to 350*F. Grease and flour your pans. I used 2 9-inch springform pans.
You can use a mixer, for this, and a shredder for the carrots, but I did all of the following by hand.
Mix together oil, sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Add in one egg at a time, and then vanilla, and again mix until smooth.
In another bowl mix flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, baking powder, nutmeg, and cloves until they’re pretty well combined. Add these dry ingredients to the first mixing bowl, and beat on medium speed (or mix thoroughly by hand) until everything is well mixed. Then fold in the grated carrots until all are evenly combined. Add any nuts (or some people like raisins) at the end.
Pour your batter into the greased and floured pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the toothpick to the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool until it is at room temperature, and then refrigerate for another 10-15 minutes.
If the tops are uneven use a knife to level the tops. Ice the bottom cake and then stack, and ice the top. I didn’t make my own cream cheese icing, because I thought it would all be a more lengthy ordeal than it ended up being. There are lots of recipes out there for the frosting if you look around, but I just used Aldi brand and it was pretty good.
This made for a massive cake that fed seven people twice, with generous helpings. So normal people who eat in appropriate moderation could probably get about 20 slices or more out of it.
This was definitely a lot simpler than I anticipated and it made me pretty excited for future baking endeavors. Jefferson loved it and I guess shared the giant piece I sent to work with him with some coworkers who also have said they enjoyed it. I took it as a seal of approval that he asked me to bring him the rest of it the next day as well, which I was happy to do.
Although we both love carrot cake, neither of us have ever had it with the pineapple before, but now we’re big fans. I think in the future I’ll always want the pineapple in it, and the extra dash of spices I threw in added nicely to it.
You should try it, definitely with the pineapple, and let me know what you think. I might make another come Christmas time, unless I find some sick new recipes to try out instead.
Happy Birthday, Jefferson!