Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Fall Carrot Cake

I'm not much of a dessert person, but occasionally I find myself craving a sweet treat. This week I decided to challenge myself and make one of my favorites - carrot cake. But how make it healthier? Yes, it already has carrots, which is great, but I also added my secret weapon (that is about to be seen a lot this time of year) - canned pumpkin! This ingredient is not only one of the most nutritious foods, but it also adds great moisture to baked goods. In addition, I added crushed pineapple for flavor and texture.

And what's a carrot cake without cream cheese frosting? Instead of overloading it with extra butter and full-fat cream cheese, I simply reduced the butter and sugar amount and used 1/3-less fat cream cheese. I also finished the frosting with fresh lemon juice to brighten it up.

The end result? I think the picture says it all...I'm ready for another piece.


Fall Carrot Cake
Serves 15

All you need:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups grated carrot
1 cup crushed pineapple
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup flaked coconut (optional)

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 (8 oz.) packages 1/3-less fat cream cheese
Juice of 1 lemon
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup flaked coconut (optional)

All you do:
1. Preheat oven to 350. Coat 2 square (8-inch) cake pans with cooking spray and lightly flour.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugars, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon.

3. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, oil and vanilla until smooth.

4. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture.

5. Fold in the pineapple and pumpkin until well combined.

6. Fold in the carrots and then the nuts and coconut.

7. Pour batter into the prepared cake pans and bake for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

8. Meanwhile, beat the butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar and coconut for 1 minute. Finish with fresh lemon juice.

9. When the cake is completely cooled, transfer the bottom layer to a platter and frost. Top with second layer and frost again until cake is completely coated and smooth. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Cut and enjoy!

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