Carrot and Apple Cake
Carrot Cake is a dessert I always considered to be very “American” – along with staples such as apple pie or chocolate chip cookies, a moist carrot cake with cream cheese frosting seemed to be something served on most American tables throughout the years. After doing a little digging though, I came to learn that like most “American” foods, carrot cake is the result of recipes brought from European immigrants in the early 20th century. Think about it – for being a vegetable, the carrot contains quite a bit of sugar. It’s a natural choice for home-cooks who wanted to add just a touch a sweetness and moisture to the traditional idea of a spice cake.
What really sets this cake apart (and probably the reason it has remained a favorite for all of these years) is the frosting. A combination of powdered sugar, butter, and cream cheese has a tang unlike any other cake topping out there. It is my firm belief that without this fluffy and flavorful topping, this humble and lumpy cake would not have made its mark in the history books.
The cake I created for you today was inspired by the winter storms that have been relentlessly dumping snow for weeks here in Western Michigan. My teacher friends have had more snow days in 2013 than I probably had in my entire school career. After taking a drive through Manistee National Forest the other weekend to soak in the beauty of our own Winter Wonderland, I wanted to make a dessert that reminded me of the fluffy snow that was just stuck to the tree branches.
I added some tart chunks of apples to the cake for little bursts of flavor in every slice. There is also some additional cinnamon in the frosting to compliment the subtle spices of ginger and cinnamon in the actual cake. Sprinkle this beauty with some toasted coconut for a little crunch and texture and you have the Foodinary Edition of this American classic.
- 2 cups wheat flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 3 cups of finely shredded carrots (equal to about 6 large carrots)
- 1 apple, cut into small chunks ( about a 1/4 inch thick)
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 4 eggs
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 – 8 ounce pkg cream cheese
- 1/2 cup butter4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- Toasted coconut for sprinkling on top (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Prep two 9-in round cake pans by greasing the bottom and sides inside of each cake pan with crisco or butter. Then take a sheet of parchment paper and press the paper down inside each pan until it sticks to the crisco. Leave enough paper hanging around the edges so you can easily lift the cakes out of the pans after baking. Next, grease the bottom and sides of the parchment paper inside of each cake pan.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and allspice. Whisk the dry ingredients until mixed well.
- In a separate bowl, combine the shredded carrot, apple chunks, oil, and eggs. Once combined, pour this mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients.
- With a wooden spoon, mix the wet and dry ingredients until you can no longer see any flecks of dry ingredients.
- Pour equal amounts of batter into each cake pan and spread the batter until evenly distributed.
- Bake the cakes for 30 – 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out cleanly.
- Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 10 minutes before lifting out the cakes (by grabbing the parchment paper) and allow them to cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.