By Heidi Sutton
In honor of National Carrot Cake Day, Feb. 3, here is a traditional take on the timeless treat using everyday ingredients. This cake is so easy to make, perfectly moist, and topped with an easy homemade cream cheese frosting. Then try this cream cheese bar recipe that combines the spiced sweetness of traditional carrot cake with creamy, smooth cheesecake for an irresistible dessert.
Traditional Carrot Cake
YIELD: Makes 10 to 12 servings
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups carrots, shredded
1 cup crushed pineapple with juice
2/3 cup walnuts
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Heat oven to 350 F. In large bowl, sift flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and baking powder. In mixing bowl, cream together oil and sugar. Add eggs one at a time. Gradually add in carrots and crushed pineapple. Add dry mixture to wet ingredients and beat until smooth. Fold in walnuts.
Pour batter into two lightly greased 8-inch round cake pans and bake 25-30 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Allow cakes to cool completely. Remove cakes from pans and slice off tops to level cakes.
To make frosting: In mixing bowl, cream together cream cheese, butter and vanilla. Gradually add in powdered sugar and mix until smooth. Spread two large spoonfuls frosting over top of one cake and stack second cake on top. Frost entire cake with remaining frosting.
Carrot Cake Swirled Cream Cheese Bars
YIELD: Makes 24 bars
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour, divided
2 cups sugar, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, divided
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups finely grated carrots
3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon lemon extract
Preheat oven to 325°F. Mix 1 cup each of flour and sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt in large bowl. Add oil, 2 eggs, vanilla extract and carrots; mix well. Spread 1/2 of the batter into greased and floured 13×9-inch baking pan. Reserve remaining batter. Set aside.
Beat cream cheese and remaining 1 cup sugar in another large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add milk, remaining 2 tablespoons flour and lemon extract; beat until well blended. Add remaining 2 eggs, 1 at a time, beating on low speed after each addition just until blended.
Drop spoonfuls of cream cheese mixture and reserved carrot cake batter, alternately, over carrot cake batter in pan. Cut through several times with knife for marble effect.
Bake 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack.