Have your cake and eat your veggies too, with this moist, nicely spiced carrot cake. It’s flavorful enough on its own, but topped with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting it makes for a no-fuss dessert fit for any celebration.
Game plan: Grating 2 pounds of carrots on a box grater can seem like a daunting task. Give your biceps a rest and use the grater attachment on your food processor.
- 1Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange the rack in the middle. Coat two 8-inch cake pans with butter and flour, and tap out any excess flour. Set aside.
- 2Combine flour, baking powder, cardamom, cinnamon, baking soda, ginger, and salt in a large bowl, and whisk to aerate and break up any lumps. Set aside.
- 3Combine eggs, sugar, oil, buttermilk, and vanilla in a large bowl, and whisk until eggs are broken up and mixture is thoroughly combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold in flour mixture until just combined. Fold in carrots and walnuts until evenly mixed.
- 4Divide batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50 to 60 minutes.
- 5Remove cakes from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool, about 15 minutes. Run a knife around the perimeter of each, and turn cakes out onto the rack to cool completely.
- 6To frost, place a cake layer on an 8-inch cardboard round, a tart-pan bottom, or a cake plate. Evenly spread about 1/3 of the frosting over the top of the layer. Stack the second layer, and evenly spread another 1/3 of the frosting over the top and sides of the whole cake. (Don’t worry about looks at this point—this is just a basecoat, a.k.a. a crumb layer, and it will be covered up later.) Place in the refrigerator until frosting is set up and slightly hard, about 15 minutes. Remove from the refrigerator and spread remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake, ensuring it’s as even as possible. Serve.
Beverage pairing: Dow’s 10 Years Old Tawny Porto, Portugal. Spiced desserts like carrot cake go wonderfully with sweet wines that have some degree of oxidation, such as tawny port, Madeira, and Vin Santo. The nutmeg, cardamon, and cinnamon just seem to fit smoothly with the nut and toffee notes of the wines. This Dow’s port is a great tawny for carrot cake, as it’s one of least sweet versions of this style.