Carrot Cake

I have been making amazing cakes from the Cake Mix Doctor cookbook for several years  now.  I must say I am never disappointed with the results.  To many cooks, especially today’s younger generation, mixes are a homemade cake, as compared to a bakery cake not baked at home.   Purists may flinch, but when you fire up the oven, rev up the mixer, add fresh eggs, and soften a little butter, you’re baking. The cakes are made in a fraction of the time and you are almost guaranteed a success! My mother made this cake for my sister’s 40th birthday party last week. Needless to say, it was a big hit, with many saying, it was the best carrot cake that they had ever had!

Carrot Cake

Solid vegetable shortening, for greasing the pans and flour for dusting the pans

1 package (18.25 ounces) plain yellow cake mix

1 package (3.4 ounces) vanilla instant pudding mix

2/3 cup fresh orange juice

½  cup vegetable oil, such as canola, corn, safflower, soybean, or sunflower

4 large eggs

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3 cups grated carrots (5 medium carrots)

½ cup raisins

½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans

1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 F. Generously grease two 9-inches round cake pans with solid vegetable shortening. Dust with flour, then shake out the excess flour. Set the pans aside.

2. Place the cake mix, pudding mix, orange juice, oil, eggs, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Blend with an electric mixer at low-speed  for 1 minute. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more scraping the sides down again if needed. The batter should look thick and well blended. Gently fold in the carrots, raisins, and nuts with a rubber spatula. Divide the batter between the prepared pans, smoothing it out with the rubber spatula. Place the pans in the oven side by side.

3. Bake the cakes until they are golden brown and spring back when lightly pressed with your finger. 30 to 35 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven and place them on wire racks to cool for 10 minutes. Run a dinner knife around the edges of each layer and invert each onto a rack, then invert each again onto another rack so that the cakes are right side up. Allow them to cool completely, 30 minutes more.

4. Meanwhile, prepare the Fresh Orange Cream Cheese Frosting.

5. Place one cake layer, right side up, on a serving platter. Spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer, right side up, on top of the first layer and frost the top and sides of the cake with clean, smooth strokes.

*Place this cake, uncovered, in the refrigerator until the frosting sets. 20 minutes. Cover the cake with waxed paper and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Or freeze it, wrapped in aluminum foil, for up to 6 months. Thaw the cake in the refrigerator before serving.

Fresh Orange Cream Cheese Frosting

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter; at room temperature

3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

1 tablespoon grated orange zest (from one medium orange)

1. Place the cream cheese and butter in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low-speed until combined. 30 seconds. Stop the machine. Add the confectioners’ sugar, a bit at a time, blending with the mixer on low-speed until the sugar is well combined, 1 minute. Then add the orange juice and zest to the mixture. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until the frosting lightens and is fluffy. 1 minute more.

2. Use at once to frost the top and sides of the cake of your choice.

Recipe from the Cake Mix Doctor

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