As I stood in my kitchen pouring a cup and a half of vegetable oil into my cake batter, it just didn't seem right. But considering I was following a Paula Deen recipe, I guess I shouldn't have been surprised. Most other chefs warn against making things "too sweet" or "too dense," but not Paula. Paula is all about self-indulgence, and that is exactly why I decided to try her recipe for Grandma Hiers' Carrot Cake.
Unlike most cake recipes I've used, this recipe does not instruct to combine the wet and dry ingredients separately. I'm not sure if this is because Paula is lazy (or eager to eat the finished product!) or if it's because carrot cake is not meant to be light and fluffy. Regardless, this cake turned out very dense, which was just fine with me! I was pleasantly surprised that the pecans inside the cake tasted like they had been candied, which I assume was the result of them interacting with the sugar in the batter. Delicious!
Once again, my cake did not turn out to be very pretty. This time I did remember to butter and flour the pans, so the layers didn't fall apart. However, for some reason they weren't uniform in shape, so the cake didn't have smooth sides. Also, I probably should have put the frosting in the refrigerator to firm up a bit before using it. Since I used it when it was at room temperature (and very creamy, I might add), it didn't stay in place and the coverage was rather uneven.
My amateur decorating skills aside, this cake was amazing. It certainly lived up to the level of decadence I expect from Paula. One of these days I'll learn how to make cakes that are both delicious and beautiful. Until then--if my taste buds are happy, I'm happy.
Grandma Hiers' Carrot Cake
Prep: 20 min Cook: 40 min
Butter, for pans
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 & 1/2 cups vegetable oil
3 cups carrots, grated
1 1/2 cups pecans, chopped
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup salted butter, at room temperature
1 (16-ounce) box powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease and flour 3 (9-inch) round pans. Line bottoms of the pans with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add eggs and vegetable oil. Using a hand mixer, blend until combined. Add carrots and pecans.
3. Pour batter into pans. Bake for approximately 40 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes. Remove from pans, place on waxed paper and allow to cool completely before frosting.
4. For the frosting: Add all ingredients, except nuts, into a medium bowl and beat until fluffy using a hand mixer. Stir in the nuts. Spread frosting on top of each cake layer. Stack the cakes on a serving plate.
Deen, Paula. "Grandma Hiers' Carrot Cake." Foodnetwork.com.