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Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting


Carrot cake is a type of cake that is made with grated carrots, which not only add flavor and texture but also contribute to its moistness. Typically, the cake is spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger, and often includes raisins, nuts, or pineapple for added sweetness and texture. 

This carrot cake is  layered with cream cheese frosting, which complements the spiced  cake with its tangy sweetness. Carrot cake is a popular dessert for Easter and other special occasions and is also sometimes served as a breakfast or snack item due to its wholesome ingredients.

Ingredients 


For Carrot Cake:


  • 4 large eggs, at room temp
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup cooking oil, such as canola; or melted unsalted butter
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups grated carrots, about 5 large carrots
  • 1 cup finely diced pistachios


For Cream Cheese Frosting:


  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temp
  • 16 oz cream cheese, softened at room temp
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 3 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted


For Garnishing:


  • 1/2 cup finely diced pistachios
  • orange food coloring, powder or concentrated gel


Instructions


Preparing the Cake Batter:


Start by preheating the oven to 350°F/177°C. Line two, 8-inch (20-cm) cake pans with parchment paper and spray the sides with a baking spray. This recipe will also work with 9-inch pans, or even as cupcakes.


Place the eggs, Greek yogurt, sugar, vanilla, and oil into a large mixing bowl. Mix for a few minutes until the eggs are well-beaten.


In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and ground cinnamon. Sift the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, then mix just until well combined and smooth.


Add in the diced pistachios and grated carrots last. I like to use a food processor for dicing the nuts. Fold them into the cake batter gently but thoroughly, creating a uniform batter.


Baking Instructions:


Divide the carrot cake batter evenly between the prepared pans. Use an offset spatula or spoon to spread the batter evenly to the edges.


Bake the cake layers at 350°F for 32 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. You can check with a digital thermometer, too. Insert it into the center of the cake. The cake should be between 200°F and 210°F.


Once baked, carefully transfer the cake layers onto a wire rack to cool completely.


Making the Cream Cheese Frosting:


Place the softened butter into a mixer bowl and whisk for 5 to 6 minutes, until it’s light and fluffy. Switch to a flat beater attachment and add the softened cream cheese. Beat together the cheese and butter for about 5 to 6 minutes, until creamy and clump free.


Next, add in the confectioner’s sugar, salt, and vanilla extract. Start the mixer on slow speed until the sugar is incorporated, then beat on medium-high speed for 5 to 7 minutes, until the frosting is thick and creamy.


If your frosting is too soft, that means the butter and/or cheese where too warm. Place the entire bowl of frosting into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour, then mix again before using.


Assembling the Cake:


Make sure the cake layers have cooled completely. You can place them into the refrigerator to cool. Use a long, serrated knife to level the top of each cake layer.


Spread a generous amount of cream cheese frosting onto the first layer, then invert the second layer onto the top, with the bottom facing up. This will give you a level surface to work with.


Spread a thin crumb coat layer of frosting on the outside and smooth it well with an off-set spatula and bench scraper. Refrigerator the cake for 20 minutes.


Apply a final, thicker layer of frosting over the top, smoothing it around the sides and top.


Garnishing the Cake:


Garnish the sides and top of the cake with additional finely diced pistachios, if desired. Gently press them into place.


You can create frosting carrots with any leftover frosting. Simply add orange food coloring until the frosting is a rich orange color, then transfer it into a pastry bag tipped with a simple, round tip. I used Wilton tip #12.


Pipe little frosting carrots onto the top of the cake. Watch my video tutorial to see how it’s done.


Serving & More Tips:


This pistachio carrot cake is ready to be enjoyed right away! If you need to serve it the next day, refrigerate the cake overnight, then let it soften at room temperature for about 2 hours.


If you like to have lots of frosting with your carrot cake, try splitting each cake layer in half, resulting in 4 cake layers total. Spread the frosting between each cake layer when assembling

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