I got my first bakery job at the age of 18. It was a famous bakery near downtown San Antonio called Josephs Storehouse. I remember being so incredibly intimidated as I walked in for my first day on the job. I worked with two older women who had been baking for decades and while I came in with a passion, I also brought a little bit of ego thinking I could run with the big dogs. As they walked me through all the amazing (made completely from scratch) recipes they told me about one of their top sellers…the Carrot Cake. In my mind I thought “Why on Earth would that be a top seller?” and then I took a bite and immediately knew why. We made a huge variety of desserts for the bakery as well as special orders. Chocolate Cakes and Cupcakes with the most decadent Chocolate Pecan frosting, Cinnamon rolls, Kolaches, you name it and we were making it, but nothing sold like the Carrot Cake. We would make dozens and dozens of carrot cakes each and every day. Through the years I’ve adapted it and made some slight changes but I try not to mess with perfection. It’s still hands down the best carrot cake I’ve ever tried.
Photography by my friend Cara….Find more of her amazing work at http://catcherintheryephotography.com/
FOR THE CARROT CAKE
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 TBL vanilla extract
2 cups grated carrots
1 cup crushed pecans (optional)
1 (8oz.) can crushed pineapple
FOR THE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING (THIS RECIPE CAN BE EASILY DOUBLED IF YOU PLAN TO DO A LOT OF PIPING)
4 sticks (1 cup salted butter) slightly softened
1 (8oz) package cream cheese softened
3 teaspoons (8 g) vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
6-8 cups powdered sugar (depending on consistency)
For the Carrot Cake
You can make cupcakes or a layer cake. If making cupcakes just place cupcake liners in the pans and if you are making a layer cake then you’d want to grease, flour and parchment paper the bottom of 3, 6-inch pans
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees
- Whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set Aside.
- In the bowl of your mixer, add 2 cups sugar, 4 eggs, 1 cup oil, and 1 tsp. vanilla. Mix 2 to 3 minutes at medium speed until well blended and light colored.
- Next add in the flour mixture until moistened, then add the carrots, pecans and crushed pineapple.
- Bake 15-25 minutes at 325 degrees (depending on cupcakes or layer cake) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool completely before frosting.
For the Cream Cheese Frosting
- Beat on low to medium speed the butter and cream cheese until it is softened and smooth.
- Add the extracts and then Gradually add the powdered sugar beating on low speed until blended.
- Increase mixing speed and beat until fluffy.
- Pipe on to the cupcakes or frost the layer cake