Monday, July 21, 2008

Bugs' Best Carrot Cake

Many years ago, I worked as a part-time cook in a small nonprofit restaurant called Franklin Coffee Shop that was created to serve and support the low income neighborhood in which it operated. The previous cook was legendary for his dishes, including a fantastic carrot cake that I adopted immediately upon taking over his kitchen.

Particularly as I've begun developing more recipes, I've made a number of adjustments to Terry Woodbury's original recipe and created my own version. I've turned it into cupcakes and 9 x 13 cakes many times, but it had been quite awhile since I tackled a two-layer cake, holding my breath as I waited for each layer to drop - fully intact - from its buttered and floured pan. Still a touch warm and adorned with cream cheese icing, it was gorgeous and delicious.

Here's the recipe:

Lisa's Carrot Cake


2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup oatmeal
1 1/2 cups sugar
8 ounces crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup oil
3 eggs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups grated carrots (tip: start with approximately 2 1/2 cups cut carrots)
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped fine

Combine all ingredients thoroughly except carrots and walnuts, and then add these ingredients, blending well. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 pan or two, eight-inch layer pans or use cupcake papers (makes 15-16 large cupcakes). Pour batter in pan and bake 40-45 minutes in a 350-degree oven (20-25 minutes for cupcakes). When cake reaches room temperature, top with:

Cream Cheese icing:

1/2 box powdered sugar
1/2 stick butter
1/2 package (4 ounces) cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon orange juice (or milk)
1/2 cup walnuts, optional

Allow butter and cream cheese to soften and then cream together with powdered sugar. Add orange juice to thin slightly and vanilla. Combine until thick and creamy. Spread on cooled cake. (tip: Leftover icing will keep in the refrigerator for another dessert, perhaps with cocoa or other flavoring added before you use it)


Christie's Corner said...

Sound delicious. One question. How much in a stick of butter? My butter only comes in one pound blocks. Is a stick 1/2 cup?


lisa waterman gray said...

Yes, one stick is equal to 1/2 cup :)