Maple and Carrot Cake in Springtime

Carrot Cake

This time of year makes me sentimental. I am not sure if it’s the return of the sun, or the fact that everyone is taking over the streets to walk while enjoying the nice warm air, or if it’s just the natural light that is back in our bedroom curtains. Maybe it is a combination of all of that. Time to switch to a lighter coat that fits better with our sunglasses and our hair that looks shinier. Getting out of bed is easier, evenings feel longer, we are slowly dreaming of the upcoming summer …

Spring, overall, brings with its warmth a lot of comforting memories and new dreams to follow. As I was thinking about a recipe that would mean spring for me, all I could think about was a cake. Layered? Upside down? Vanilla or chocolate? It is actually by walking into coffee shops and stores around the city that it became clear that if not for me, for many others spring was associated with carrot cake.

As I was home I went through my recipe books and tried to remember when was the last time I had made carrot cake. I could only remember doing an LCOB carrot cake recipe once, 3 or 4 years ago when my parents came to visit me in Ottawa. I remembered it being pretty good and moist.

So I went through my magazine – I have a couple, I have to admit – and found the one in the LCBO edition of spring 2011. I found the LCBO magazines great for recipe ideas. Since I have been living in Ottawa, I have been collecting this magazine and use it regularly. The level of complexity of the meals varies from easy to elaborate in each edition so it makes it something I go back to constantly. I found many great recipes I now use regularly and I am looking forward to sharing those on this blog.

As far as carrot cake goes, this recipe worked well for me. It makes a moist cake, not too sweet and the flavours are well balanced with the carrot. I substituted the maple butter cream frosting for cream cheese frosting. I remembered doing the butter cream frosting and found it way too rich.

If you are making the cake for a small quantity of people, feel free to cut the recipe in half. The batch I made produced one big cake and 12 cupcakes – which is a lot of cake! Feel free to do some layers if you want to make the cake more spectacular, spreading icing between every one of them.

So as spring is creeping up on us and making us feel fresh and brand new again, I hope you will like this recipe and that it will bring joy to your meal.

Carrot Cake

You will need:
2 ½ cups of flour
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of cinnamon
½ teaspoon of nutmeg
1 cup of butter
4 eggs
1 cup of brown sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla
¾ cup of maple syrup
½ cup of milk
4 cups of shredded carrots

In a bowl, mix the flour with the baking powder, the baking soda, the salt, the nutmeg and the cinnamon.

In another bowl, beat the butter until it is creamy and fluffy. Slowly add the brown sugar, then the eggs one by one and finally the vanilla.

Beat in about one third of the flour. Add the maple syrup and mix well. Add another third of the flour and mix. Add the milk and beat in the rest of the flour.

Once everything is well mixed, add the shredded carrots.

Spread in two buttered and floured 9 inch round cake pans. Bake at 350F for about 35 to 40 minutes. Let it cool before icing.

Cream cheese icing:
2 – 250g cream cheese packages
¾ cup of butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 ½ cups of icing sugar

Beat the butter into cream. Add the cream cheese slowly and whisk well between each addition.

Add the vanilla.

Whisk in the icing sugar, ½ cup at a time until you get a fluffy and creamy frosting. Use within the hour. Keep cool.

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