|Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books|
My love of baking started early and truly at my mother’s apron strings. When the occasion called for a cake, Mom would pull out the stand mixer and a cookbook, and tie an apron around her waist. I was allowed to rummage through the apron drawer, filled with handsewn aprons, mostly gingham, with rickrack trim on the pockets. Mom would tie the apron around me, with the strings wrapping all the way around me, twice. Those days are long gone.
|Shredding carrots for carrot cake. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books|
As I grew older, I was often called upon to bake cakes for family events, such as birthdays and holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. The very first layer cake I ever baked on my own was this carrot cake with cream cheese frosting from my mother’s copy of “Farm Journal’s Country Cookbook. “ I still use the recipe, with slight adaptations, like using a food processor to grate carrots. Those days of scraped knuckles are long gone, too.
|Crumb coating for frosting. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books|
I use a crumb coat when I frost this cake. The carrot cake can be quite crumbly, so spread a thin layer of frosting on the cake, doing your best to pick out crumbs as you go. Refrigerate the cake until the frosting hardens, then spread the remaining frosting over the cake. The result is a beautiful, crumb-free frosted cake.
When ready to serve, be sure to cut big, fat slices and hand them to a cute little girl to pass around. No one fusses about calories when faced with this grin.
|Carrot cake. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books|
2 cups sifted flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups sugar
1 ½ cup vegetable oil
2 cups finely grated raw carrots
1 (8 ½ oz.) can crushed pineapple, drained
4 ounces flaked coconut
Cream cheese frosting
1. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add sugar, vegetable oil and eggs; mix well. Add carrots, pineapple and coconut; blend thoroughly.
2. Pour into three 9-inch round layer cake pans that have been greased and floured.
3. Bake in 350 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes. Cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven, cool a few minutes in pans. Torn out on racks and cool. Fill layers and front top and sides of cake with Cream Cheese Frosting (see story for description of crumb coating).
Cream Cheese Frosting
½ cup butter
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, low-fat preferred
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 lb. confectioners sugar, sifted
1. In a mixing bowl with an electric mixer, combine cream cheese and butter until thoroughly combined. Add vanilla.
2. Gradually add confectioners sugar, mixing until smooth. If mixture is too thick to spread, add a small amount of milk.
Adapted from Farm Journal’s Country Cookbook (Revised, Enlarged Edition. Doubleday, 1972)
Text and images copyright 2012, Lucy Mercer.