Cristina Ferrare's Carrot Cake
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 1 ¼ teaspoons salt
- 1 ¾ cups granulated sugar
- 1 ½ cups canola oil or safflower oil
- 4 large eggs at room temperature, slightly beaten
- 6 medium carrots rinsed, peeled, and grated on a box grater (this should yield about 2 cups)
- ½ cup flaked coconut
- ¾ cup chopped walnuts
- ½ cups raisins
- 8 ounces (2 packages) cream cheese, softened
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon sour cream
- 2 ¼ cups confectioners' sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ to 1 cup slices almonds, chopped pecans or walnuts, to sprinkle over the cake
- Adjust the oven racks to the center of the oven.
- Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
- To prepare the pans, butter the bottom and sides of 2 (9-inch) cake pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper and butter the top of the paper. Add 1 tablespoon of flour on top of the parchment in each cake pan and shake the pan back and forth to dust the bottoms and the sides of the pans. Then, tap the cake pans on the side of the counter to get out the excess flour; discard the flour.
- Sift together the 2 cups of flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt into a mixing bowl for a mixer fitted with a paddle.
- Add the sugar, oil, eggs, carrots, coconut, walnuts, and raisins. Mix just until blended. Do not overmix.
- Divide the cake batter evenly between the two cake pans and bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
- Cool the cakes for 5 minutes and then use a butter knife to loosen the cakes from the sides of the cake pans.
- Turn over onto a cooling rack and let rest until completely cool.
- To make the creamy cream cheese frosting, combine the cream cheese and butter in a mixer fitted with a paddle and mix together for 1 minute.
- Add the sour cream and mix.
- Add the confectioners' sugar and vanilla and whip until creamy smooth.
- To frost the cake, cover the top of one layer of the cake with a thick layer of frosting. Place the second cake layer on top and use the rest of the frosting to cover the top and sides of the whole cake. I like to add frosting only on top!
- If desired, use a cake decorator with a tip that makes pretty floral designs to embellish the top of the cake. Sprinkle sliced almonds, chopped pecans, or walnuts over the top, if desired, for a professional-looking cake.
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