May 2nd, 2008
Ginger-Orange Carrot Cake Recipe
The great thing about this twist on the Classic Carrot Cake Recipe (besides the taste, of course), is its versatility. Whether you prefer a sheet cake to a layer, bundt, or even cupcakes this recipe is meant to satisfy all. If you just aren't that adventurous and prefer a classic carrot cake, without the twist, you can remove the ginger (ground and crystallized) and orange zest in steps 1 and 2 below and increase the cinnamon to 1 ¼ teaspoons. However, I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone, I think you will be pleasantly surprised!
Cream cheese frosting for carrot cake is a must but the calories that comes with it, not so much. The frosting for carrot cake shared in this post does not require the use of cream cheese. Classic example of More Taste, Less Filling :)
Recipe for Carrot Cake
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
½ cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 ½ cups vegetable oil
1 pound carrots, peeled and grated*
½ cup crystallized ginger (this can be very expensive at the supermarket, so you may want to leave it out. You can generally get it online or a local candy shoppe for nearly 15x's cheaper).
*Use either a box grater or food processor shredding disk, do not use pre-shredded carrots, the result will be a crunchy cake.
Carrot Cake Frosting Ingredients
2 cups sour cream
2 tablespoons sugar (I actually use a natural sweetner,
1 teaspoon orange extract
2 tablespoons grated orange zest
Baking Carrot Cake
1. With the oven rack in the middle position, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat your cake pan (see note below on cake pans and corresponding baking times) with vegetable oil spray. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices ans salt, set aside.
2. Whisk eggs, sugar and orange zest in a large bowl until sugar is mostly dissolved and the mixture becomes frothy. Slowly whisk in oil until combined. Add flour mixture from step 1 in small batches until totally incorporated (no remnants of flour should remain). Stir in the carrots and crystallized ginger.
3. Pour batter into the pan of your choice and smooth top. Bake according to chart below. When done, a wooden skewer inserted into the center of cake should come out clean with only a few crumbs. While cake is baking, mix sour cream topping* ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.
4. Remove from oven and apply topping. Place cake back into 350 degree oven for 5 more minutes, allowing the topping to set. Cool in pan on counter for 2 hours.
Cake Pans and Baking Times
Sheet cake : Bake 35~40 minutes.
Bundt cake : Bake for 55 minutes.
Cupcakes (makes 24): Bake for 30 minutes.
*Layered cake (two 8-inch pans): Bake for 25~30 minutes. For a layered cake, I recommend lining bottom of pan with parchment paper, this will ensure your cake does not stick. You will also need to prepare a frosting, rather than using the sour cream topping since it is not stiff enough to hold the cake layers together. Traditional recipes typically use a cream cheese frosting. Before frosting the cake you will need to first remove the parchment paper; run a paring knife along the sides of the pans and the invert cakes onto a rack or baking sheet, remove parchment paper, and invert again. Place first cake on serving platter and frost, add second cake to first and frost.