Nothing beats the old-fashioned goodness of a perfectly moist carrot cake with a rich cream cheese frosting. The depth of the flavors and spices is an amazing taste to behold, making this classic dessert a favorite of many. We can feel good about the fact that weâ€™re also eating our vegetables when we have a piece of carrot cake, but that doesnâ€™t really matter does it? We eat it because itâ€™s delicious.
Below are some tips to help you make the very best carrot cake you possibly can:
1. Use Fresh Carrotsâ€”
Carrots are almost fruit-like in their sweetness, making them a popular choice for juices, breads and oh yesâ€¦ carrot cake. Be sure to buy the freshest carrots possible because the fresher they are, the more tender they will make your carrot cake.
If you can afford organic carrots, even better, as organic fruits and vegetables are well-known for their excellent flavor.
2. Soak Dried Fruit in Waterâ€”
If you are planning to use raisins in your carrot cakeâ€”or perhaps dried cranberries if youâ€™re bringing the carrot cake to a festive holiday dinnerâ€”be sure to soak the raisins in warm water for a few minutes. This will cause them to re-hydrate, becoming plump and juicy, which will add moisture to your carrot cake.
Soaking dried fruit in brandy or another type of alcohol can also add a deliciously adult element to your dessert.
3. Blend Dry Ingredients Wellâ€”
You can use a spoon to blend the dry ingredients, but if you have one handy, nothing gets the lumps out of baking soda, flour and spices quite like a sifter. Blend the ingredients well to give your carrot cake the smoothest texture possible.
4. Use Oil Instead of Butterâ€”
Most serious bakers are big fans of butter, and rightly so, as it adds a flavor to many baked goods that canâ€™t be denied. But carrot cake is an exception to this rule, perhaps because the grated carrots already add such a large amount of moisture.
Using a lighter type of oil like vegetable will help keep your cake moist without making it too dense or heavy.
5. Try Creative Additionsâ€”
Once youâ€™ve mastered the perfect classic carrot cake, you might want to have fun experimenting a little with different spices, nuts and fruits your family or dinner guests might enjoy in a dessert. Use golden raisins instead of the traditional, or add pineapple and coconut to your carrot cake to give it a tropical flair.
Many cooks use walnuts instead of the more traditional pecans to mix it up, or even add walnut oil to give the cake a nuttier flavor. If a spicier cake is desired, you can add nutmeg, ginger and cloves to the classic cinnamon to jazz things up.
Some other fun ideas if youâ€™re feeling brave would be to add vanilla, almond extract, citrus zest, dates, chocolate chips, dried mango, cranberries, or even currants if youâ€™re feeling daring.
Be sure to grease your pans well, as moist carrot cake has a tendency to stick, and donâ€™t forget that you can add orange or lemon zest to your cream cheese frosting to give it a little extra zing. No matter what your particular carrot cake style may be, you can use the professional tips above to ensure this classic American favorite is a crowd-pleaser every time.
Lana Marston is a professional is a professional blogger that shares cooking advice. She writes for RecipeChart.com, where you can find a large selection of delicious recipes.