I worry too much. I panic sometimes. While I’ve succeeded, somewhat, in my goal of slowing down the pace of my life, my mind often takes off on its own chaotic adventure. I still need to work on that – i.e., I need more of this kind of baking. Baking (or cooking) something as fantastic as this old-fashioned carrot cake (with ginger mascarpone frosting!!!) is the only thing I know of right now that can completely slow down my runaway brain. It relaxes me. It is pure joy.
I thoroughly enjoy the process…
…and the reward. This is my therapy.
After making this carrot cake, I had to send some to work with Hubby – there was no way we’d be able to finish it all ourselves. Of course, his office mates were thrilled. The BFF said, “it’s a very special cake.” It is, and I just HAD to share it with you guys.
If you try this, I would LOVE to hear your thoughts about it. Here’s the step-by-step, but the full recipes, the carrot cake and the ginger mascarpone frosting (!!!!), are printed below.
To begin, you’ll need 2 nine inch cake pans. Mine are 2 inches tall, and were the perfect size for this recipe. First, grease the cake pans, then cover the bottoms with parchment and sprinkle with flour.
Now, with your electric mixer and its paddle attachment, beat 2 cups of sugar with 1 1/3 cups of vegetable oil and 3 large eggs (at room temperature) until it all becomes a beautiful little mixture of light yellow, thickened batter. Once that’s done, add 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract. Let me stress the “pure” part here. Those of you that know me, already know I can’t stand the thought of using imitation anything. But ESPECIALLY for this cake, you’ll want the real stuff.
Next, in another large bowl, whisk together (or sift) 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons of baking soda and 1 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt.
With your mixer on low, add these dry ingredients slowly, until combined. Your cake batter will look a lot like this.
In yet another bowl, toss 1 pound of grated carrots, 1 cup of SunMaid’s baking raisins (found them in the baking aisle, they come in little 1 cup bags…love’em!), 1 cup of chopped walnuts and 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour.
Stir the carrots into the cake batter with a rubber spatula and evenly divide your mixture between your two prepared cake pans. Smooth the tops with your rubber spatula.
Cook at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350 degrees for another 30-35 minutes. When they’re done, a toothpick stuck into the center of each cake will come out clean. Let your cakes cool in the pans for 15 minutes or so, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Seriously, let them completely cool before moving on.
Now, place one cake, rounded side down, on the serving plate you want to use. Using half the recipe (printed below) of the ginger mascarpone frosting (!!!) cover the top of the cake only. Then, take the second cake, rounded side up, and place it on the first cake. Spread the remaining ginger mascarpone frosting (!!!) on top.
Next, admire your creation. Take a picture or 12. Look at that frosting!!! Did I mention it was ginger mascarpone frosting?!!! No doubt about it, this is the best frosting I’ve ever had, anywhere. Un. Believe. Able.
All that’s left to do is simply enjoy. And you will, I promise.
Do you like moist, dense cakes? This one’s for you.
Old-Fashioned Carrot Cake With Ginger Mascarpone Frosting (!!!) Recipe
Barely dapted from a recipe by Ina Garten from her cookbook, Foolproof that you really should get if you love amazing food from simple ingredients:
I say it a lot, so most of you already know what a huge fan of Ina’s I am. Cooking her recipes always, always, always makes me feel great…..and they always let us eat well. It’s a win-win!
For the carrot cake:
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (preferably Saigon cinnamon)
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 pound grated carrots
- 1 cup baking raisins (by SunMaid, in the baking aisle)
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- Ginger Mascarpone Frosting (recipe below)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease 2 nine inch round cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment, then sprinkle each pan with flour.
With the paddle attachment, beat the sugar, oil and eggs on medium-high speed with your electric mixer for 2 minutes or until your mixture is light yellow and thickened. Stir in the vanilla. In another large bowl, sift together the 2 cups of flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Slowly add the mix of dry ingredients to the sugar mixture with the mixer’s speed on low.
In a medium bowl, toss the carrots, raising, walnuts and the 1 tablespoon of flour. Stir into the batter with a rubber spatula. Divide batter evenly between the prepared pans. Smooth the tops. Bake for 10 minutes. Lower the heat to 350 degrees F and bake for 30-35 minutes. When it’s done, a toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean. Cool in the pans for 15 minutes, then turn out on a wire rack to let cool completely.
Place one cake on a flat serving plate, rounded side down. Spread half the frosting (recipe below) on the top only. Place the second cake on top of the first, frosted cake, rounded side up. Frost the top of the second cake.
For the ginger mascarpone frosting (!!!):
- 12 ounces Italian mascarpone cheese, room temperature
- 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup minced crystallized ginger (not in syrup)
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
In the bowl of your electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the mascarpone, cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, cream and vanilla together for 1 minute, or until it has become light and fluffy. Add the crystallized ginger and salt and beat for 30 seconds.