Once you bake this carrot cake, you will agree with me this is the most delicious, moist, and fluffy carrot cake you can dream of. It has the perfect not-too-sweet cream cheese frosting, and you can top it with toasted pecans. The best part: this American classic, is the easiest dessert to make!
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I’m always amazed about how I remember things and how one memory brings another one and so on… like a chain. I think the palate is a great catalyst for memories. Writing about mint juleps, brought memories from my dad and my childhood came to my mind. Writing about cappuccinos, brought memories from New York cafés… and so on…
Love at first bite
During the summer of 1991, at The Violet, I fell in love with carrot cake. In that a café on the corner of Washington Square E and W 4th St, in the Greenwich Village, I also decided 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 then I started my search for the perfect, moist carrot cake with the perfect not-so-sweet cream cheese frosting.
In Search of the Perfect Carrot Cake
In the winter of 1994, while I was attending SIPA (Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs), my sister Andreína happened to be in NYC for the Holidays. In the middle of the most ferocious snow storm, we decided to take the train to visit Yale University in New Haven. A few years later she ended doing post doctoral work there.
It was snowing and windy. So, we went to a coffee shop for 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 a decent piece of carrot cake, I bought a book just for its carrot cake recipe. Useless. A big, epic fail. So the search started again… and the good thing is 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.
- 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
- 8- ounce package cream cheese
- ½ cup butter
- 2 Tsp . vanilla extract
- 5 to 6 cups of confectioner’s sugar
- ¾ cup of pecans
- 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.
- 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.