So far, Martha hasn't let me down with her recipes yet. Here is another one of hers that I tried. I was hesitant at first to put ginger in the cake because who puts ginger in their cake? Okay, maybe a lot of people, but I have not tried it then. But it made all the difference. I tried it with ginger and I tried it without.
The verdict? Add ginger for the win!
Carrot Ginger Cake
(makes 1 four-layer cake, serves 10 to 12)
- Unsalted butter, for greasing the pans
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pans
- 1 cup pecan halves (or pieces. You'll crush them later so it's okay to use pieces)
- 1 pound carrots, peeled
- 3 large eggs
- 1/3 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 2 cups sugar
- 1-1/2 cups vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (originally 1 teaspoon)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Orange cream cheese frosting (see following recipe)
- Pre-heat the oven at 375 degrees F. Butter two 8"x2" round cake pans. Dust with flour and tap excess. Toast the pecans in a single layer in the oven until lightly golden, about 7 minutes. Remove from oven, and set aside to cool. Reduce temperature to 300 degrees. Finely chop pecans.
- Grate the carrots using a food processor or a grater to yield 2-1/2 cups. Whisk carrots, eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, sugar, oil and ginger in a large bowl until well-combined.
- In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Fold the flour mixture into the carrot mixture using a rubber spatula. Fold in the toasted pecans.
- Divide the batter between the two cake pans, and bake for about 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the middles comes out clean. Remove pans from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool, about 15 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto the rack; let stand until completely cool.
- Now here's the fun part - layering the cake:
- Level the tops of the cake by trimming it using a serrated knife.
- Slice each layer in half horizontally.
- Assemble the cake on a cake stand or a big plate (3/4 cups frosting in between the layers, and then the rest of the frosting on top and the sides)
- Chill in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours.
Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
(makes about 5 cups - enough for the carrot cake recipe above)
- 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3 (8-ounces each) cream cheese, room temperature
- 2-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar (originally 3 cups, but I find it too sweet)
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
- 2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
- pinch of salt
- Beat the butter in an electric mixer on medium-high using the paddle attachment, about 2 minutes, until fluffy.
- Add cream cheese, and beat until well-combined and fluffy, about 2 minutes more.
- Add the remaining ingredients, and beat 5 minutes more.
- Use immediately, or store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to two days.