One thing I've learned about cakes is that it is all about beating those eggs. Let your mixer run for the allotted amount of time. Those eggs need a good beating to help the cake rise properly in the oven.
This is a very simple, yet delectable, carrot cake recipe. I had a few people who tasted it say they don't normally like carrot cake, but this one changed their mind. It doesn't include all the added pineapple and coconut which I think makes the flavor too tropical.
CARROT CAKE WITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
adapted from Food & Wine Annual Cookbook 2010
1 c. walnuts
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 t. baking powder
2 t. baking soda
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. salt
1 c. canola oil
1/2 c. buttermilk
1 1/2 t. vanilla extract
4 large eggs
2 c. sugar
1 lb. carrots, coarsely grated
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 lb. cream cheese, softened
1 T. vanilla extract
2 c. powdered sugar
To make cake:
Preheat oven to 325.
Grease and flour two round cake pans.
Toast walnuts on a baking sheet for about 8 minutes.
In one bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, whisk oil, buttermilk, and vanilla. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar at high speed for about 5 minutes. Beat in the liquid ingredients. Beat in the dry ingredients until just moistened. Stir in carrots and walnuts. Divide the batter between the two pans and bake for about 1 hour, until springy and golden. (I inserted a knife in the center and removed them when it came out clean.) Let cakes cool on rack for 30 minutes, then unmold and let cool completely.
To make frosting:
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat butter and cream cheese at high speed until light, about 5 minutes. Beat in the vanilla, then the powdered sugar. Beat at low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and beat the frosting until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Invert one cake layer onto cake platter and spread with about a cup of the frosting. Top with the second layer. Spread the top and side of the cake with the remaining frosting and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.
Slice and enjoy. :)
Makes about 10-12 servings.