Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Katrina's Divine Carrot Cake

Katrina calls this "Divine Carrot Cake." I now call it, "The Cake That Saved Me From Disaster."

I had plans to surprise someone with a birthday cake made from scratch. I had the recipe all picked out and was so sure that it was going to turn out perfectly. That night, I mixed it up, baked it up, and . . . was stunned in disappointment. The cake was flat, lacked flavor, and had an odd texture. Worse still, it STUCK to my pans!!! I chalked part of the failure to the recipe and the rest to human error, fate, incompetence, whatever you want to call it. But, regardless of where to put the blame, it was a definite no-go. Into the trash it went.

I just couldn't understand it. How is it that I can make cookies, brownies, breads even and yet, cakes seem to give me trouble. I was almost ready to throw in the towel and just go get a boxed mix (egads, the horror!!!). But, then I decided to give things one more try and use a different recipe. Carrot cake seemed like a good idea, and, although Bill's Big Carrot Cake was delicious, I wanted to try something different. I remembered that Katrina had a carrot cake recipe on her blog that she raved about, so I immediately went to check it out. It's a lot healthier than other carrot cake recipes since it uses pineapple for moisture, which allows you to cut back on the sugar and oil.

I did make a few changes to the recipe. I used all-purpose flour, omitted the nuts and coconut, and added some ginger powder. I also subbed in 1/2 cup of brown sugar because I realized while I was making the cake that I was running super low on granulated sugar (are you kidding me??!!). This time around, I meticulously greased the pans, then put down a wax paper circle, then greased and floured the wax paper as well before pouring the batter in. I made sure to beat the batter good and hard and crossed my fingers.

Oh my gosh!!! This cake did NOT let me down. It baked up beautifully, came out of the pans without a hitch, was super moist, and tasted like a dream come true. I frosted it with a lemon cream cheese frosting adapted from the one on Cinnamon, Spice, and Everything Nice and it was carrot cake perfection. The birthday surprise was a hit! The cake was proclaimed a keeper and I had redeemed myself completely.

Thank you Katrina for saving my birthday surprise. And THAT is why I am nicknaming this cake, "The Cake That Saved Me From Disaster."

Divine Carrot Cake (adapted from Baking and Boys)

2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger powder
3 eggs
1 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 c. buttermilk
1/2 c. canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla
4 Tbsp. pineapple juice, reserved from canned pineapple
16 oz. canned crushed pineapple, drained-juice reserved
2 c. grated carrots

Grease two 9" round cake pans. Cut out a circle of waxed paper or parchment paper to fit inside and grease the paper as well. Flour the pans.

Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger powder in a medium sized bowl. In another bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, brown sugar, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and reserved pineapple juice until blended. Stir in pineapple and carrots. Add the dry ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula just until blended. Scrape the batter into the prepared pans and spread evenly. Bake for 30-40 min. or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in pans for 10 min. before removing to cool completely on wire rack. Frost with lemon cream cheese frosting when completely cool.

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting (adapted from Cinnamon, Spice, and Everything Nice)

8 oz. cream cheese
8 oz. Neufchatel cheese
4 Tbsp. butter
2 c. powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. lemon zest

In a large mixing bowl beat cream cheese, butter, lemon juice and zest until light and fluffy. Beat in powdered sugar until fluffy and of a good spreading consistency.


  1. This sounds, and looks, delicious. My question is though, can you taste the pineapple in it much? I love carrot cake and am all for the lower fat and extra moistness, but I've always avoided recipes with pineapple because I want just the carrot flavour, not carrot & pineapple... which leads me to wonder about using milder-flavoured applesauce & juice instead maybe?

  2. Sweet, Lisa! So glad it saved the day and was so yummy. Looks great! You're better than me, I don't even dare make a double layer cake! ;) Thanks for making my day!

  3. This looks and sounds delicious. I love love love carrot cake. This one sounds perfect.

  4. It looks so moist and delicious. Love Katrina's recipes too. Too bad about the first cake.

  5. I haven't had carrot cake in a long time. This sounds like a great recipe to try sometime soon. Glad you were able to find a recipe in time and make it work. Looks so delicious. Yummy!

  6. Lisa, once again your baking skills put me to shame! This cake does look truly divine! Glad you were saved from disaster :)

  7. The second cake turned out beautifully. I can't resist a good carrot cake. ;)

    Sidenote....nothing makes a kitchen disaster worse than the whole sticking to the pans bit. It's like kicking sand in someones eyes when they are already down....ehehehe.

  8. Oh how I love me some carrot cake! This does sound divine, for sure. :)

  9. I Love carrot cake-- it is hands down my favorite cake! There is always a debate on whether to use pineapple in it and I prefer it with pineapple!

  10. This looks so yummy.I love carrot cake. Yum!

  11. Those corn cob cupcakes are impossibly cute. And your carrot cake looks really good -- I like how you can see the flecks of carrot in it, and the slices look really moist.

    I've linked up my Banana Cream Pie!

  12. Definitely going to have to try this recipe! For those of you who have experienced the dreaded cake sticking to the pan scenario, I HIGHLY recommend Wilton's Cake Release product. It sells for around $4 in the cake decorating section/craft of most Wal-Marts and also JoAnns and Michaels. One bottle goes a long way. It takes all the work out of greasing & flouring pans and cutting parchment circles. Just brush and thoroughly coat your pan and your cake will never stick! I never bake a cake without it! :o)

  13. At what temperature did you bake this? I couldn't find a temp. I just guessed it was 350.