Carrot Layer Cake | My Year Cooking with Chris Kimball

Cook’s illustrated carrot cake recipe 2012

I’ve never liked carrot cake, so this is my latest recipe from the May/June issue of Cook’s Illustrated. The carrot cake always looked dense and unbalanced, that the heavy carrot always meant a heavy and squat cake. Fortunately, today’s recipe is perfectly balanced with just the right amount of carrot. The cake uses a layering technique to support the weight of the wet carrot, it is as if defying gravity. Finally, a carrot cake that is really worth being loved. In addition, it looks like a work of art. 4 stars.

But the cake is not without its problems. The thin cake was torn when I took it out of the pan, and the parchment paper made thinner rounded corners that prevented me from orienting the pieces even as I pleased.


  1. I’m glad the 4 layers are cooked together as one big piece. It is much easier than trying to make 4 separate layers.
  2. There was a problem turning over the carrot cake. The cake was torn because it was thin (and therefore fragile) and I don’t have a cooling grid that’s as big as my leaf tray. I was able to reassemble the broken parts and use them as intermediate layers. It went well.
  3. The thick dough will not spread evenly, so you are guaranteed to have an uneven cake. Chris Kimball’s suggestion of simply arranging the layers to even out the final cake would only work if you have a perfect rectangle. But parchment paper means you’ll have thin, rounded corners. My cake only fits in a specific way; unequally.
  4. I would suggest cutting pecan nuts smaller than my pieces. It will make the appearance a little more refined.
  5. Chris Kimball warns against whey substitute liquid whey powder in glaze. Obviously one is liquid and the other is dust.
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Rating: 4 stars. Cost: $11. ($5 of which were walnuts) How much work? Middle. How big is a disaster? Middle. Start time 3:00 PM. Ready at 5:00 PM.

Chris Kimball’s original recipe is here. My descriptions of how I prepare it today are given below

: Cake Ingredients: 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour (8-3/4 ounces) 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves 1-1/4 cups light brown sugar (8-3/4 ounces) 3/4

cup vegetable oil 3 large eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2-2/3 cups grated carrots (4 carrots; about 10 ounces) 2/3 cups dried currants (about 3 ounces)

  1. Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Grease an 18″ x 13″ edge baking sheet, line it with parchment paper, and then grease the parchment paper as well. Remove two sticks of unsalted butter from the refrigerator so that it has softened when you are ready to make the icing.
  2. Crush four carrots into the large holes of a box grater or using the detachment disc and your food processor. Be sure to use the small round feeding tube (the small hole inside your full-size oval probe).
  3. In a medium bowl, add flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and cloves. Beat together until combined.
  4. In another large bowl add sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla. Use a whisk to combine until smooth. Gently add carrots and currants with a rubber spatula until evenly distributed. Finally, add the flour mixture and fold it with your rubber spatula, but only until combined.
  5. Empty the dough onto a baking sheet. Use a shifted spatula to soften the surface and make sure the dough has an even depth. Bake for about 15 minutes, turning halfway through cooking, until the center is firm when touched.
  6. Let the cake cool for 5 minutes in a pan placed on a rack. Flip the cake on a wire rack and then immediately turn it back to a second rack. The cake should be resting with the side of the scroll facing down. Let the cake cool for another 30 minutes.
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Ingredients for icing: 16 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 bars) 3 cups sugar confectionery (12 ounces) 1/3 cup whey powder 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1/4 teaspoon salt 12 ounces cream cheese (1-1/2 packets) 2 cups pecans (8 ounces)

  1. While cooking the cake, Toast your nuts and cut them thickly. Cut your cream cheese into 12 pieces of equal size, but keep it refrigerated until ready to use in step 3.
  2. Add butter,

  3. sugar, whey powder, vanilla extract, and salt to the bowl of a standing mixer. Mix using the paddle attachment at low speed for 2 minutes; Scrape the bowl as needed.
  4. Increase the speed of the mixer to medium-low, then add cream cheese one piece at a time. Mix for 2 minutes until the frosting is smooth.

To finish:

  1. Put the cooled cake on a cutting board and cut it into equal halves transversely. Cut lengthwise so that it has 4 equal pieces, measuring approximately 6″ x8″ each.
  2. Cut out a 6″x8″ rectangle of rigid cardboard. Place the first of the cake piece on the cardboard. Use a spatula to spread 2/3 cup of frosting over the layer. Repeat with two more layers.
  3. Place the final layer of the cake on top. Remove the crumbs from your spatula and freeze the top with 1 cup of frosting.
  4. Freeze the sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. You just need enough icing to contain chopped nuts, not completely hide all the crumbs.
  5. Holding the cake

  6. with one hand, use your other hand to gently press the chopped nuts into the side of your cake. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
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This entry was posted on Thursday, May 31st, 2012 at 7:42 am and is filed under 2012 Recipe, Bread, Desserts. You can follow any response to this post via the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a reply or trackback from your own site.

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