Make a Classic Carrot Cake the Easy Way!

Apr 04, 2019 at 08:00 am by Easywaygourmet

Classic Carrot Cake

Spring is supposed to be here, but the weather keeps throwing us occasional frosty days. Everyone is getting ready for warm sunny days, and many are searching for just the right spring dessert.

It has to be something that can be a celebration, but that is also be rich and spicy enough to feel comforting on a cold day. It has to say “I took time to make you a special treat.”

It also has to be easy enough to make without a bunch of careful measuring and hard work. It might even need to be the perfect dessert to end an Easter feast.

For me, these days and occasions call for one thing.

Carrot cake with a buttery cream cheese icing. But there are few of us who have time or the inclination to bake a carrot cake entirely from scratch.

Since starting my column, The Easy Way Gourmet, readers are often asking me for the shortcuts and sneaky ways to make some complicated dish faster or simpler to cook or bake. And carrot cake is often one of those desserts people want to make from scratch but are afraid to tackle—there are altogether too many ingredients to measure, too many opportunities to forget something and end up with a leaden mass no one really enjoys.

I have spent the last few weeks pondering this issue and have come up with two easy way alternatives.

The first idea is to simply buy a carrot cake box mix and prepare it according to package instructions. Add homemade cream cheese icing and you can fool people, right?

This seems like a truly easy out, until you discover that your family or friends all long for that carrot cake their mothers used to make—replete with pineapple and golden raisins that don’t come in a box mix.

Sad as it may seem, those dehydrated carrots in the box mix never really give carrot cake the same texture or flavor that freshly grated carrots do.

This is a good alternative, but my second idea seems to beat it by providing all the special twists without much more work.

The second idea starts with a box spice cake mix but builds on that mix by allowing for all those add-ins that make a carrot cake memorable—crushed pineapple, plump raisins and an extra touch of spice.

Once you’ve conquered shredding the carrots on a box grater (or in your food processor with the shredding blade) making a rich, moist carrot cake from a box mix is really a snap.

Here’s the recipe. If you want to use it for an Easter dessert, consider buying some white chocolate carrots to decorate the top.

Easy Way Gourmet Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

1 box spice cake mix
4 eggs
½ cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon allspice (or cinnamon if you don’t have allspice)
2 cups shredded carrots
1 ½ cups crushed pineapple with juice
¾ cup raisins (golden if you have them)

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Prepare two layer cake pans by greasing and flouring them, or spray them with baking spray and line them with parchment paper. (If you want to make cupcakes, line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.) Mix the all of the ingredients except the raisins together with a stand mixer in a large bowl, then beat the mix together for two minutes until everything is well combined. Add the raisins and stir until they are fairly well distributed in the batter. Divide the batter evenly into the prepared pans and bake them for 35-45 minutes, until a toothpick plunged into the center of the layers comes out clean. Cool completely on a rack, remove them from the pans and ice them with cream cheese icing.

Cream Cheese Icing

1 stick (4 ounces) butter at room temperature
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
4 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted

Mix the butter, cream cheese, vanilla and lemon juice together until the mixture is smooth. Gradually add the confectioner’s sugar, mixing gently after each addition until the icing reaches your desired consistency (you may want a softer icing uses less sugar.)