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May 4, 2017

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Washington State Fair Best Cake

Well, here it is, the carrot cake that won me over. It literally taught me to LOVE carrot cake.Can you believe I never liked it? The truth is, my main experience with it was trying a dry hunk from a stale or over-baked sheet cake when I was a kid. Turns out there were bitter bits in it too: flour not fully mixed in, and rancid walnuts. What a turn-off! Yikes! After that, for a dessert, I would almost always opt for chocolate cake, a lemon bar, or anything else.

One taste of this Carrot Cake and I totally changed my tune. It’s dense but completely moist, and the cream cheese frosting is to die for! I made it last week and loved the creamy look of the batter just before mixing in the pineapple and carrots. I brought the entire thing (minus my generous slice of course) to friends. Not to brag, but one said it was the best carrot cake he ever tasted. (Thanks Henry!) Another, just widened his eyes and said, “WOW!” (Thanks Jeffrey!) OK, I am bragging, but that’s not the point =). This cake is something you definitely need to try at home! It’s inspired by a 1st place winning recipe at the 1999 Washington State Fair, known then as the Western Washington Fair, or Puyallup Fair. Blue ribbon bragging rights went to Mark Yamamato of Seattle. Thank you MARK! I adjusted only a few ingredients. I opted for sifted all-purpose flour versus cake flour, added pecans, left out the raisins, lemon juice, and decreased the pineapple just a bit. He held back his cream cheese frosting recipe, so I added my own here.

As soon as you make this, you’ll have a winner on your hands too! Enjoy!

Cyndi

 

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

2 cups flour (10 ounces)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 3/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups melted butter

2 teaspoons vanilla

4 eggs, beaten

1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, divided

3 cups grated carrots (12 ounces)

 

Cream Cheese Frosting:

3 tablespoons crushed pineapple (from can)

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature

3/4 cup butter, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 cups powdered sugar

1 cup chopped pecans

 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In large bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add sugar, butter, vanilla, and eggs. Mix well. In large bowl, set aside 3 tablespoons of the pineapple (for the cream cheese frosting). Drain the remaining pineapple well, reserving the juice. Add the crushed pineapple and carrots to batter. Mix well. Generously grease and flour two 9-inch round layer cake pans. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans. Bake 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before carefully removing them from the pans.

Add the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla to the bowl with the 3 tablespoons reserved crushed pineapple. Mix well, then blend in the powdered sugar. While mixing, add small amounts of reserved pineapple juice (about 2-3  tablespoons), just until frosting is spreadable, but still quite thick. Spread on top of one cake layer. Add second cake layer. Spread frosting on entire top and sides of cake. By generous handfuls, press the chopped pecans onto the cake’s sides, all the way around, and evenly. Tip: Leave ample space around the cake and reapply nuts that drop off as needed.

-Recipe from The Blue Ribbon Group