Wow. Three whole days without posting. That must be some kind of a new record for me. If you must know, I’ve been very busy honoring our presidents, past and current. But especially current. God, I don’t think we’ll ever be able to top him. Is there any way to keep him in there for a third term? Any way at all?
Apparently, I’ve chosen to honor our presidents by eating all of the carrot cake I made for Husband for Valentine’s Day. Presidents like cake, right? And this exercise of honoring our presidents made me remember just how good this carrot cake is, which is why I’m back with the recipe.
The single most important thing about this cake from Husband’s perspective is that it’s totally raisin-free. Not a single raisin in sight, though there are pecans aplenty, which ought to make Jimmy Carter happy (what did he grow again?). Lucky for FDR, there should be no Pearl Harbor flashbacks since there’s no pineapple or coconut or anything weird like that in here, either. Just carrots. Carrots in a cake aren’t weird. Right, Bill Clinton? And, of course, it has cream cheese frosting, which is the other obvious requirement. And if anyone liked cheese, it was Calvin Coolidge.
I always make a habit of doubling frosting recipes. Even my own, which I had already doubled the last time I made it and probably the time before that. I hate the idea of running out. This policy just guarantees that the cake gets better and better every year, just like our presidents.
Husband's Favorite Carrot Cake
1½ cups canola oil
2½ cups sugar
4 eggs, separated
5 Tbsp. hot water
2½ cups flour
1½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. cloves
1½ cups grated carrots (about 3)
1 cup chopped pecans
½ lb. butter, softened (2 sticks)
1 lb. cream cheese (2 bricks)
1½ lb. confectioner’s sugar
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two 9-inch circular cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment paper and grease that, too. Dust with flour by shaking it around the pan until it completely coats the bottom and sides. Shake excess into the other pan and repeat, emptying the extra flour into the trash. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix oil and sugar until well blended. Beat in the 4 eggs yolks. Add the hot water and mix well, scraping down the sides. In a large bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Beat into sugar mixture until just combined. Stir in carrots and nuts. Batter will be very thick.
In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Stir about a quarter of the egg whites directly into the batter to lighten it up. Then, gently fold the rest of the egg whites into the batter. Pour into cake pans to the same height and bake 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out pretty cleanly (a few moist crumbs are okay). Let cool.
To make frosting, whip together butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer. Add confectioner’s sugar and mix until lumps are no longer of a worrisome size. This varies from person to person.
To assemble, remove cakes from pans and arrange one cake on a plate. Spread top with frosting and stack second cake on top. Frost the sides, then the top. If you’re getting crumbs in the frosting and it’s pissing you off, do a thin coat of frosting and then refrigerate. That will lock in the crumbs so that you can use the remaining frosting to give it a final, crumb-free coat. Decorate attractively. Or stupidly. It’s a free country.