How was your Easter? It was such a beautiful day here in Chicago, we felt so lucky to have a sunny, dry, warm holiday. Even more lucky to have our cousins in from Ireland. Paul’s cousin, her husband and three daughters are staying with us this week and we couldn’t be happier to have them. After an initial bout of shyness, Isla has been over-the-moon about getting to hang out with the big girls and Emmett’s been showing off every chance he gets. Eve has been getting exhausted due to all of the excitement and her new found ability to crawl, stand and just generally get around by herself. We can tell she loves it.
We had a nice sized crowd for Easter this year but I didn’t go overboard and everyone brought food so it felt effortless. Almost too effortless, it seemed almost like something was amiss because there wasn’t as much to do as usual. Not that I’m complaining. It was fantastic. We had an Easter Egg hunt in the backyard, a turkey breast on the grill and a ham in the oven. And for dessert I made one of my personal favorites, carrot cake.
I’m a huge fan of carrot cake in its many forms. I like it with nuts, raisins or both, coconut, even pineapple. This time however, I just kept it simple, no added ingredients, not too many spices, just classic carrot cake. I didn’t even decorate it. This cake got rave reviews at my office where most of the leftovers ended up on Monday (since it would be too hard to resist the temptation to eat cake for breakfast all week long). Maybe I’ll make it again for my birthday.
Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting (adapted from America’s Test Kitchen)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg, freshly ground
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp table salt
3 cups grated carrots
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare a 9” by 13” brownie pan by spraying it with cooking spray or baking spray.
Stir flours, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt together in a bowl.
In a large mixing bowl, I use my stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat sugars and eggs on medium-high until combined and pale in color, scraping down the sides of the bowl at least once, about 5 minutes.
Switch the mixer to medium or medium low. Pour oil in a thin stream until all oil has been incorporated and emulsified. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat one minute more.
At a low speed, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in carrots.
Pour batter into prepared pan and tap the pan against the counter a few times. Bake for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, rotating pan once.
Cool cake in pan for 2 hours before frosting.
8 ounces cream cheese , softened
5 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
¼ tsp table salt
1 Tbs sour cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar
Beat together cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer until well combined, scraping down the bowl once to make sure everything is evenly mixed. Add salt, sour cream and vanilla. Add powdered sugar, little by little, scraping down the bowl at least once, until smooth and creamy.