Spiced Carrot Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
April is caught in the revolving door between warm days and cold nights, looking for an identity to cling to and take home. The bitter early mornings of winter have been ushered aside as the sun takes its post earlier each day. The afternoon warmth beats down harder and longer after a long hiatus and climbs into the early evenings alongside us. And brings hope.
We love everything about this time of year. The long walks with our dog after work, which change in length and appearance depending on the weather. The photo shoots at dawn and the way the sun dances on the horizon, just out of reach. And cooking and eating in the natural light. We spend the better part of winter locked in her grasp and stuck inside that the first chance to get out is welcomed with open arms.
My wife asked me to bake a cake for her. Spring was in the air that day. Contrary to some recent posts, I don't consider myself much of a baker. It's too precise and too restrictive. Every ingredient has to be carefully measured and watched and I like improvising too much. I'd rather stand in front of the stove and play with the food in the pan.
She wanted a cake though for a shoot she was doing and I was obliged to help. After all, making food for my wife is one of the best ways to spend my time. Lost in the kitchen and my thoughts and working on something to bring a smile to her face. It's only fair. I'm one blessed man.
It didn't matter what kind of cake I made, which was the step in the right direction for me. I could stick with something incredibly simple yet delicious and leave the real cakes for bakers and my mother-in-law, a former baker and cake decorator.
I settled on a Spiced Carrot Cake because it always reminds me of home from my childhood. My mom working away in the kitchen shredding carrots and folding batter. I'd sneak a taste of the frosting and leave with the evidence firmly attached to my nose.
What I love about this cake is the sweet and slightly spicy flavour, the texture from the shredded carrot and pineapple and the bits of orange in the cream cheese frosting. It's not too sweet and so easy to make. It's also perfect with a cup of tea and my wife by my side.
From my kitchen to yours, happy eating!
Spiced Carrot Cake
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 2 cups carrots, grated
- 1 cup drained crushed canned pineapple
- 1 package cream cheese, room temp. (icing)
- 1/4 cup butter, softened (icing)
- 1 tsp. vanilla (icing)
- 1 tbsp. fresh grated orange zest (icing)
- 2 tbsp. fresh grated ginger (icing)
- 1 cup icing sugar (icing)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 12"x9" cake pan and set aside.
- In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. In a separate mixing bowl beat together the sugars, egg, oil and vanilla until smooth. Pour it over the dry ingredients and stir until just moistened. Add in carrots and pineapple and stir. Spread into the pan.
- Bake in centre of oven for 40 minutes or until centre of cake gives back to touch and toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes and then invert on a cooling rack until completely cooled.
- To make the icing: Using a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter until fully smooth. Beat in the vanilla and add the icing sugar one-third at a time, until smooth. Add in the grated ginger and orange zest and beat until incorported. Spread over the cake.