That's right, not just a Birthday Cake - a Birthday Cake! Exclamation mark. It's my man's birthday this week and that's pretty exciting! The big 2-9. I love birthdays, I really do think they are something to celebrate, and you get to eat cake - so really its a happy day for everyone! Especially when the birthday cake is a carrot cake.
My mother is pretty amazing. When my sister and I were little she would make the best birthday cakes. Every year was a different creation - I will always remember the beautiful castle cake with ice cream cone towers. But her best cake - is carrot cake. I may be partial here but I think my mom makes one of the best carrot cakes I've ever tasted. So as my sister and I grew up and grew out of the castles and gummy worm cakes, we requested one and only one cake every year for our birthdays - carrot cake. And then again for easter, for special events and for family gatherings - like when Matt met my family for the first time. How that guy went 27 years without eating a single piece of carrot cake is beyond me, but thankfully those days are long gone and the birthday carrot cake tradition continues in true Kay fashion. Cheers to celebrating birthdays and family traditions! Exclamation mark :)
Birthday Carrot Cake with Honey Cream Cheese Icing
Have you ever made something for the first time and realized exactly what goes in it - like a buttercream or a hollandaise sauce? Sometimes I think its just best not to know. This is what happened the first time I made cream cheese icing and realized how much icing sugar usually goes into it. Even though it taste delicious (like most things with sugar do!), I wanted to make something a little less sweet since there is already enough sugar in the cake. This icing is still pretty indulgent, which is why I decided not to ice the entire cake - just a thin spread in between the layers is really all you need. Satisfaction without the sugar coma, hoorah!
Carrot Cake (just a few tweaks mom!)
- 2 + 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
- 2/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
- 1 cup cane sugar
- 1/2 cup honey or agave
- 4 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups grated carrots
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 cup raisins
Honey Cream Cheese Icing
- 350g cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 vanilla bean, scraped
- 1/3 cup honey or agave (add more if you want it sweeter)
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 teaspoon honey
What to do
- Preheat oven to 350 F / 175 C
- Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a small bowl
- In a large bowl whisk together oil, apple sauce, sugar, agave and vanilla. Add in eggs and whisk until light, about 5 minutes. Blend in carrots, raisins and walnuts
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients 1/3 at a time
- Divide the batter into 2 greased cakes pans
- Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes (until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean)
- Cool in pan at least 10 minutes for removing and let cool completely on a rack
- Toss the walnuts and honey together and place on a baking sheet. Bake in a 350 F oven for about 10 -15 minutes. Set aside.
- To make to icing - beat together the cream cheese and honey in a bowl until well combined and really smooth. Taste and add more honey for extra sweetness. Slice the vanilla bean lengthwise down the center and scrape out the seeds, fold seeds into cream cheese honey mixture. Place icing in the fridge to cool.
- Assemble the cake - once the cakes have completely cooled, slice off the rounded top of one of the cakes so that it is completely flat (so that the other cake can rest nicely on top). Place on your serving plate and spread the top with half the icing. Add the second layer on top, and spread with remaining icing. Sprinkle the top of the cake with the honey roasted walnuts. Serve and enjoy! Happy Birthday!