It was my own fault…you see, I live with my best friend…he’s twice divorced and I’m a widower. Although my house is pretty small, it’s pretty big when you’re all alone in it. So, we kind of have an “Odd Couple” kind of thing going. As to who is Oscar and who is Felix it depends on whom you ask. I freely admit I’m a little of both…but he’s all Oscar. LOL.
Anyway, I digress. His first birthday spent here I asked him what kind of cake he would like. He said carrot cake. So, I found a recipe, collected my ingredients, and started grating carrots! He came in the kitchen as I was doing it and asked what was going on. I told him I was baking his carrot cake. He asks, “You’re baking it?” I respond, “Of course. How else do you get a cake?” He responds, “You go up the street to the bakery and buy one.” DOH! I wish I had thought of that.
Well, anyway, it became a tradition for me to bake a carrot cake every year for his birthday. I never forget it since he shares a birthday with my late father. Over the years I’ve made significant changes to the original recipe, including adding more carrots, vanilla and cinnamon. I also swapped out the original cream cheese frosting for an Ermine, or “boiled milk” frosting. I found the cream cheese frosting to be overly sweet. Besides, this frosting doesn’t use powdered sugar, which I don’t always have on hand, but you can use your favorite cream cheese frosting if you wish.
4 Eggs 1 Tsp. Salt
1½ Cups Salad Oil 2½ Cups Shredded Carrots
1 Cup Sugar 1 Cup Raisins
2 Cups All-purpose Flour ½ Cup Chopped Walnuts
2 Tsps. Baking Soda 1½ Tsps. Vanilla Extract
1 Tbl. Cinnamon Walnuts for Garnish
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.
2. Whisk together the Flour, Baking Soda, Cinnamon and Salt in a medium bowl.
3. In a large bowl with a mixer at medium speed, beat eggs, oil and sugar. With mixer on low speed, gradually add and mix in the flour mixture just until combined. Do not overbeat! Grate your carrots. 2½ cups equals 3-4 large carrots.
4. With a spoon or rubber spatula, stir in carrots, raisins, chopped walnuts and vanilla. Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (You can also use a 9”x12” rectangular pan or make cupcakes. You just need to adjust your baking time a little.) *While your cake is baking, begin your Ermine Frosting, below.
6. Frost the completely cooled cake with a “crumb coat” (a thin layer of frosting used to seal in any crumbs so they don’t show up on the finished cake) and refrigerate for about 20 minutes. Then, ice with your final coat of frosting, decorate if you wish, and ENJOY!
5 Tbls. Flour Pinch of Salt
1 Cup Whole Milk 1 Cup Butter, Softened
1 Tsp. Vanilla 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
1. In a small saucepan, over medium heat, whisk flour and milk together and heat just to a boil while whisking constantly. It will become very thick and pudding-like.
2. Remove from heat and transfer the “roux” (that’s what you’ve just made) to a bowl. Whisk in the vanilla and salt. Press plastic wrap to the surface and allow to cool COMPLETELY. (Feel free to refrigerate if you’re in a rush.)
3. In a large bowl with a mixer at medium speed, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy and light in color, scraping the bowl with a spatula occasionally. This should take about 5 minutes. Don’t skimp on the time or you’ll end up with a grainy frosting. With the mixer still on medium speed, gradually add the COOLED roux (flour mixture) a little at a time, beating after each addition. Continue beating until light and fluffy, like the texture of whipped cream.