Sunday, November 27, 2011

Carrot Cake

I have a confession to make; I used to despise carrot cake. Truly, utterly, and deeply. My carrot cake eating experiences had always been characteristically stringy, with the carrot pieces still too chewy, and the cake was always really dry. The cream cheese icing was also never cream-cheese-y enough for my taste. But that was before I had one little slice of carrot cake that turned my whole world upside down. Well, not really, but it WAS pretty darn tootin' good. It was while I was working NBC's press tour. Lunch was provided for us and so I went down the lunch buffet with my plate, a little bit of cheese here, some deli meats there, and then I came to the dessert selection at the end. I don't know what made me pick the carrot cake when I've always hated carrot cake, maybe it was because I was delirious from standing for the past 5 hours running a microphone back and forth between various members of the press in a giant ballroom, but I took a piece and sat down and started eating. It was wonderful; moist, soft, rich, and with the best cream cheese frosting I have ever had, hands down. I told Jeremy about it and he confided that carrot cake was his favorite cake of all, which kind of weirded me out. Not chocolate? Not yellow cake? Red velvet? Carrot? Really? But, like any loving girlfriend, I knew that on his birthday I would make the cake he wanted. So last week I scoured cookbooks and the internet, looking for nuances in various carrot cakes recipes that I wanted to combine into one ultimate carrot cake. Crushed pineapple sounded interesting, and I liked the idea of coconut, but hate shredded coconut baked into things (once again, the weird stringy texture), so I used coconut milk to add the coconut flavor instead. It came out perfect, incredibly moist and soft and full of that cinnamon brown sugar-y carrot cake flavor. The best carrot cake I've ever had, and Jeremy, too.

.....It was so good, in fact, that three days later Jeremy asked me to marry him. Yes, we are engaged! I couldn't be happier about it. We spent the weekend in San Francisco and he proposed at the end of the day in the pouring down rain by the seaside. We were completely alone on the pier at night and it was wonderfully romantic and sweet and perfect. So here's to carrot cake, and all the joy it brings.


Carrot Cake

4 Eggs
2 and 1/2 Cups Shredded Carrots
Reserved Carrot Tops (optional for decoration)
2 and 1/3 Cups Flour
1 and 1/2 Cups White Granulated Sugar
1 Cup Canned Coconut Milk
3/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Drained Crushed Pineapple
1/2 Cup Crushed Pecan Pieces
1/3 Cup Crushed Walnut Pieces
2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
2 Teaspoons Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cloves

First, make the cream cheese frosting. Then place it in the refrigerator to help it harden a bit. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Then cut (3) 8-inch circles out of parchment paper and place them in the bottoms of 3 well-greased 8-inch cake pans. Set them aside.

Mix together the dry ingredients, except the nuts, in a medium-sized bowl. Set it aside. Then mix together the oil and sugars in a large bowl until well blended. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Then add the coconut milk and vanilla extract and mix until blended. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until they are just combined. Stir in the shredded carrots, crushed pineapple, and nuts.

Evenly distribute the cake batter between the 3 cake pans and bake them in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow them to cool for 10 minutes, then shake the pan slightly to loosen the grip of the cake. Allow the pans to cool for another 20 minutes before removing the cakes from the pans.

Layer and ice the cake, making sure to remove and dispose of the parchment paper. You can also garnish the top of the cake with the reserved carrot tops,  if you want to. Serve immediately and refrigerate any leftovers.


  1. Ahaha, everything about that cake photo is amazing. And congratulations again! 2011 is so your year.

  2. Thanks you guys!

    @Meloog: I am so glad you like the cake photo, it is one of my favorites I think :)

  3. mmmm that looks incredible. i never seek out carrot cake but when it's there i'm always in heaven.

  4. Congratulations Eva!!! I am so excited for you guys. The ring is beautiful :)

  5. Congrats!!! it is so beautiful and your pictures are great as always

  6. Congratulations! I too hated Carrot cake until I found a super good recipe! I'll have to try yours out as well! Beautiful cake and beautiful ring!

  7. Thanks everyone!!

    @Kristi: We'll have to get together when I'm home for Christmas so you can see it in person :-)

  8. Congratulations! How wonderful! The cake is so fun and fantastic too!

  9. What a really exciting post for you! Firstly, congrats! Looks like carrot cake bought you together hehehe. You can't hate it that much anymore. Plus, your presentation of this cake is absolutely breathtaking! I bet he'll enjoy it

  10. Congrats, cake looks super marvellous and incredible.

  11. That is one stunning Carrot cake! Beautiful :)

  12. Diamond rings and carrot cake - sounds like a perfect partnership to me :) Congratulations, Eva!

  13. Congratulations! Carrot cake has magical capabilities, I'm sure of it.

  14. Lovely, lovely, lovely!!! And of course, congratulations!

  15. Smart man. :) Congratulations, Eva, this is so exciting!!!!

  16. congratulations to you both! and what a lovely lovely cake :)
    thanks for posting! love you and your blog

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  18. Hi Eva

    How long can you refrigerate this frosting, I usually bake my cake layers the day before I frost them.

    1. Hi Jackie! I would only refrigerate it for a day to be safe, and then leave it out to soften an hour or two before frosting the cake as the frosting will harden up when chilled and it needs to be soft to spread on the cake easily :)

  19. This is in the oven as I write this! I love your blog and enjoy all of your recipes!! Plus that cake stand is seriously GORGEOUS!!

  20. this recipes simple and looks delicious and preparation with gorgeous..

  21. Awww thank you Andrea! I hope it came out well for you! :)