The Best Ever Carrot Cake with Pecan Filling & Cream Cheese Frosting

IMG_1040 (1)Whenever someone asks me to make them a carrot cake, my first reaction is usually something along the lines of “Ugh. Out of all the cake in all the world you pick the one that was popularized during WWII when we couldn’t afford sugar?”. And then I make it, have a taste and remember why people love it so much. The sugar, the cinnamon, the butter, the nutmeg, the sweetness from the carrots – oh yeah, this cake is good.

Its also a pain in the ass, which is why when my sister asked me to make a carrot cake for a wedding shower I was like WHY CARROT CAKE?! I don’t know why, but carrot cake and I have a rocky past. A lot of my carrot cakes have melted, toppled, or otherwise fallen apart in transit. They usually taste phenomenal but look like total crap. As you can see below, the cake that started as a beautiful rose cake ended up in a hot mess after a 2 hour drive to Cincinnati. Again, UGH!

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So I set out in search of The Best Ever Carrot Cake. I spent some time, I made some cakes, I shredded a LOT of carrots, and I ended up with a pretty bomb-tastic recipe. I think my issue historically has been over mixing, under baking, and a poor liquid/solid ratio, so those issues have all been resolved. I found the idea for the caramelized pecan filling online (I don’t remember where exactly, but it’s all over the web) and I HIGHLY recommend it. Even my frosting-hating boyfriend, who usually eats around any and all frosting, loved it.

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I’m convinced the key to making great carrot cake, and actually enjoying the process, is preparation. I’m talking like making this a three day process…seriously. Grocery shop, peel, and chop the carrots the first day. Bake the cake and make the filling the second day. Make the frosting and assemble the third day. I know it sounds like a lot, but your kitchen and dishwasher will thank you.

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I hope you enjoy this cake as much as I have! Now whenever someone asks me to make a carrot cake, I’ll still probably whine (and wine) about it but I’ll rest easy knowing I’m giving them a fan-freaking-tastic tasting cake.

PS: I’m convinced its impossible to get perfectly straight/sharp edges with cream cheese frosting. Does anyone have any tips/advice on this that isn’t “make a buttercream instead”?

XOXO

Court

Best Ever Carrot Cake with Pecan Filling and Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients

Pecan Filling

  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup salted butter
  • 1 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Carrot Cake

  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 8 oz crushed pineapple, well rinsed
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 cups grated carrots

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 12 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Directions

Make the pecan filling:

  1. In a heavy saucepan, blend well sugar, flour and salt. Gradually stir in the heavy cream
  2. Cut butter up into tablespoons, and add into the mixture
  3. Heat over medium heat until butter has melted, being sure to stir regularly
  4. Reduce heat to low, and let the filling simmer for 30 – 35 minutes or until golden brown, being sure to stir occasionally
  5. Remove from heat and allow it to come to room temperature. Stir in the pecans and vanilla.
  6. Refrigerate overnight. Bring to room temperature before spreading onto cake

Make the cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a large bowl, beat canola oil, butter, and sugar until it lightens in color. Add in vanilla and beat until incorporated
  3. Rinse the crushed pineapple well, and pat dry with paper towels. Stir into wet ingredients
  4. Sift together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg in a medium sized bowl
  5. Stir in the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in four additions, alternating with the eggs. Take care not to over-mix the batter
  6. Stir in the grated carrots
  7. Grease and flour 3 8″ rounds. Fill each with about 2 cups of batter, or until they are 2/3 full
  8. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes, or until golden brown and fully cooked through. Rotate pans halfway through baking time
  9. Allow cakes to fully cool before removing from pans. Assemble with a cup of filling in between layers. Frost the outside of the cake with the cream cheese frosting

Make the Cream Cheese Frosting:

  1. Cream butter and cream cheese together
  2. Add in powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, beating well in between additions and taking care to scrape the sides
  3. Frost the cake and enjoy!

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Grilled Cheese with Candied Bacon & Avocado

IMG_1001It is FINALLY FRIDAY! Yesssss!

To celebrate, I’ve decided to do a short post on my favorite meal this week, and no its not from Taco Thursday.

This week I made a roasted tomato and basil soup with grilled cheese, bacon, and avocado. The soup needs a little work so I won’t post my recipe for now, but the grilled cheese is the bomb.com. All of your major food groups are covered in this one beautiful sandwich – cheese, carbs, and bacon. Oh and avocado is a fruit right? So basically this is a fruit sandwich and nobody feels guilty eating a fruit sandwich.

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Buckeye Macarons & Tutorial

Okay deep breath, here it goes: My. First. Blog. Post.

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It is just so daunting. I feel like a blog is something that should just BEGIN at your 200th post, but unfortunately these first terrible posts are sort of necessary to get to that point. I’m sure I’ll cringe in embarrassment looking back on it in the same way I do everything about the years 1998 – 2010 (I had a very long ‘awkward period’ OKAY?!). I guess I can take solace in the fact that literally nobody is reading it except for probably my mom. Hi mom.

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