It's back to school time and for me this time of the year has always been very nostalgic for me. Believe it when I say that I've been out of school for many moons now, but the return of the cooler Canadian air along with the warm September sun just makes me long for some of my favorite childhood comfort foods. Carrot cake is a pure comfort food, wouldn't you agree? So today I decided to try making this cake with a little bit of a twist. Instead of baking it in conventional cake pans I actually baked it in an 16 X 11 jelly roll pan, cut the cake into 4's and then stacked them to create an elegant look.
The ingredients are pretty basic but since the cake is in a wider longer pan, the baking time is drastically reduced. The authors of this recipe adds baking soda to the batter in order to raise the pH enough to soften the carrots during the short cooking time. And it did work, the carrots were cooked perfectly.
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups shredded carrots
I used store bought cream cheese frosting, roughly 32 ounces, but of course you can always make your own.
2 cups chopped pecans
First set your oven's baking rack to the middle position, then preheat it to 350 F. Prepare your jelly roll pan by greasing it with cooking spray and then lay a a piece of parchment paper on top and grease the paper with the spray.
In large bowl whisk together the first seven dry ingredients. In another large bowl whisk together the brown sugar, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla extract. Stir in the carrots and the dry ingredients. Then using a rubber spatula, fold the mixture until it is just combined. Pour the batter into your prepared pan making sure to spread the batter into the corners. Place in oven and bake for 16-18 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes on a baking rack.
Next transfer the cake onto the rack with the parchment paper still under the cake and let cool completely, about 30 minutes. Once cake is cooled, slice the cake in half crosswise cutting through the parchment paper as well. Then slice each half lengthwise, again making sure you cut the parchment paper, to create 4 equal rectangle cakes.
Using a cake board or large plate turn one of the cakes onto it, paper side up, and then carefully peel off the paper. Spread about 1/2 to 2/3 cup of frosting on to the first layer and then repeat for the other three layers. (If your cake has baked with an uneven thickness, adjust the orientation of the layers so they are stacked to produce a level cake.) Once your cake is assembled frost all 4 sides of the cake. Then gently press the chopped pecans into the 4 sides of the cake.
Chill for about one hour before serving.