It was precisely during the summer of 1991, at The Violet, a café in the corner of Washington Square E and W 4th St, in the Greenwich Village, where I fell in love with carrot cake and made the decision to move to New York City, not only to eat carrot cake, but to go to grad school.
When I finally moved to Washington Square Village, in the summer of 1993, The Violet wasn’t there anymore, but I kept searching for the perfect not so sweet, moist carrot cake, with the perfect not so sweet cream cheese frosting.
In the winter of 1994, while I was attending SIPA (Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs), my little sister Andreína happened to be in NYC for the Holidays and, in the middle of the most ferocious snow storm, we decided to take the train to visit Yale University in New Haven, where a few years later she ended her post doc.
It was snowing and really windy. So, we went to a coffee shop for a cup of hot cocoa. Then, a miracle happened. In front of me, there was the most beautiful carrot cake ever. I ordered a piece, and had it calmly, enjoying every single bite. Perfect. The most perfect carrot cake ever.
A few years later, back in Caracas and always craving for a decent piece of carrot cake, I bought a book, just for the recipe. Useless. A big, epic fail. But I never gave up.
When I finally moved to Southern California, I found a cooking Bible: The Better Homes (and Gardens) New Cook Book, which happens to be America’s #1 Cookbook since 1930 and has everything you need to know not only to survive but to be happy in the kitchen.
To that book I owe this “best carrot cake ever” recipe. I use brown sugar instead of white sugar and add some ground cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg. A staple in my kitchen and one Mr. Bill’s favorite, this is the real stuff.
When I say real, I mean it. This time the carrots are from my kitchen garden. My first carrots ever.
Here is the recipe. I hope you like it.
Carrot Cake | Ingredients for 12 portions
2 cups of all purpose flour
2 cups of brown sugar
2 Tsp. of baking powder
½ Tsp. of baking soda
1 Tsp. of ground cinnamon
¼ Tsp. of freshly ground nutmeg
4 eggs lightly beaten
¾ cup of vegetable oil
3 cups of finely shredded carrots
Have all the ingredients at room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-by-3-inch cake pan. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg in a mixing bowl and set aside. In another bowl, with a fork, mix the eggs, oil and carrots. Add the dry ingredients and mix well. Divide the batter into the previously prepared cake pans and bake 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Transfer the pans to two wire racks and let them cool for 10 minutes. Unmold the cakes and let them completely cool down before frosting.
Cream Cheese frosting and toasted pecans
8-ounce package cream cheese
½ cup butter
2 Tsp. vanilla extract
5 to 6 cups of confectioner’s sugar
¾ cup of pecans
Put the pecans in a shallow baking pan, and bake them for 8 to 10 minutes, until fragrant. Chop the pecans and save some halves for decoration purposes.
In a bowl, soften the cream cheese by microwaving it for 45 seconds to 1 minute. Add the butter and vanilla extract and beat them with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar, beating well until it gets the desired consistency.
Frost the top of one cake with cream cheese frosting and sprinkle with the chopped pecans. Put the other cake on top. Frost sides and top. Put some pecans halves on top. Refrigerate at least one hour before serving.
To print the recipe click here.0