While mostly everyone else in Manhattan seems to be on their way home to their respective families, or have hordes of family members coming into town to spend Easter with them, I am among the population of NYC orphans who are too far away from home to make the trip for a mere two days of bunny and Easter-egg-filled festivities. Thus, I am planning a supremely quiet and relaxing Easter spent with a couple of dear friends over brunch. And what better to get one in the mood, than the anticipation of a baked-from-scratch, homespun single-layer carrot cake topped with a healthy dollop of maple cream cheese frosting?
From one of our favorite food blogs, The Kitchen Sink, is a nearly perfect recipe for just such a cake. So whether you’re planning a huge celebration filled with family and kids and Easter egg hunts, or a simple meal for two, rest assured that every creamy bite of this cake will make this one a holiday to remember. Naturally Speaking wishes you a great one.
Single-Layer Classic Carrot Cake
Adapted from Food & Wine
1/2 cup pecans (2 ounces)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 pound carrots, peeled and coarsely shredded
Preheat the oven to 325°. Butter one 9-inch cake pans; line the bottom with parchment. Butter the paper and flour the pan.
Make the cake: Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and toast for 8 minutes, until fragrant. Cool and finely chop the pecans.
In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In a small bowl, whisk the oil, buttermilk and vanilla. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar at high speed until pale, 5 minutes. Beat in the liquid ingredients. Beat in the dry ingredients just until moistened. Stir in the carrots and pecans. Pour the batter in the pan and bake the cake for 55 minutes to 1 hour, until springy and golden. Let the cake cool on a rack for 30 minutes, then unmold the cake and let cool completely.
Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from Bon Appetit
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar and beat at low speed until well blended. Beat in maple syrup. Chill until just firm enough to spread, 30 minutes.
Pile the frosting on the center of the cake. Use a offset spatula or butter knife to spread the frosting evenly atop the cake. Run a butterknife through the frosting to create swoops and swirls.