I made a mistake and I was pacing the kitchen floor in worry. The recipe I was more or less following had all the ingredients listed one long list, including those for the frosting. Since I am, as you know, an eighty percenter, I didn’t read it carefully enough and just added everything into the bowl mixed it up, poured it in the pan and now it was baking. The HUGE mistake I'd made was add about five cups of powdered sugar that was intended for the frosting and it was way too late to do anything.
This cake, the one in the oven right now, was not just “something to do”, it was for a special event and I would be mortified if it came out wrong or horrible. I was proud of my reputation as a good baker and I would rather bring a pie from the Safeway to a party than present a poor dessert from my oven. Vanity is a bitch. Add to that the lack of time to prepare a second cake, and the cost of all of those ingredients and you have one worried cook.
This concoction was not just any cake, it was aa carrot cake- queen of all rich, moist, gooey cakes that are NOT made of chocolate. It is a dark and dense confection that includes spices, apple sauce, sugar, oil and of course, carrots. By the time I had it in the oven I was already alternatively assembling and salivating over the ingredients for the cream cheese frosting which included nearly five cups of … powdered sugar. That’s when I realized my mistake. Damn it!
But here’s what happened: the cake came out of the bundt form pan with a caramelized crust the likes of which I couldn’t have ever designed on my own. I pinched of a piece from the bottom and stuck it in my mouth; it was like sugared spice. I mean, it was amazing. Once the frosting was slumped over the cake (tasting this frothy goo of lemon zest and cream cheese repeatedly to ensure that it was okay to serve to others), this was a cake I could be proud of.
The party goers loved it, had never tasted anything like it. Even people who disliked carrot cake were delighted with it.
Since that time I have made some other alterations to the recipe (no nuts, and no other spice but cinnamon to name two) and every time I serve it I am greeted with such appreciation. Our bakery takes special orders for it fairly often and I’m pleased to have it in our repertoire. I rarely make the huge bundt shaped cake unless it's for family, but just about every week Suzi down at the diner askes for a half sheet. The recipe below is for just such a cake. If you want the great big one, you'll have to ask me for it.
Here it is then, for your cooking pleasure; the accidental PERFECT carrot cake.
Casa LaBelle Carrot Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
Set oven at 350 degrees
In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer add:
2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1.5 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbls ground cinnamon
2.5 cups powdered sugar
Mix to combine. Then add:
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup apple sauce
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2.5 cups powdered sugar
1.5 cups grated carrots
Mix thoroughly for a minute or two.
Pour into a 9 x 9 baking pan that has been sprayed with cooking oil and bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Test at 30 minutes with a toothpick -- it is done when it comes out clean.
Make the frosting:
In the bowl of the stand mixer add:
8 ounces of soften cream cheese
2/3 stick of unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
Zest on one lemon & its juice
2.5 to 3 cups powdered sugar
Using the whip attachment, beat this to within an inch of its life, or up to 10 minutes. Be sure that all the butter has incorporated and the frosting is beautifully fluffy and creamy.
Once the cake is out of the oven and completely cooled off (I put it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or more to expedite this), use a large spatula to round up all the frosting and tip it on to the top of the cake:
Use the spatula to evenly distribute the frosting:
Cut in to squares: