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from "Small-Batch Baking" by Debby Maugans Nakos

These miniature carrot cakes are full of everything that makes carrot cake wonderful: raisins, coconut, nuts, and pineapple. If this were a recipe for a large layer cake, you'd have trouble cutting a clean slice because of the abundance of flavorful but chunky ingredients. Those ingredients also make this cake extremely moist. A traditional Cream Cheese Frosting adds a sweet but tangy finishing touch.

Makes 2 small cakes; serves 2

Unsalted butter, at room temperature, for greasing the cans
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sifted all-purpose flour, plus more for flouring the cans
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Yolk of 1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup grated carrots
2 tablespoons raisins
2 tablespoons chopped pecans or walnuts, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons sweetened flaked coconut
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh or canned pineapple, well drained (optional)

Cream Cheese Frosting
4 ounces cream cheese, cubed, at room temperature
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Pans required:
Two 14- or 14.5-ounce cans (see note)
1 baking sheet

Print Print recipe

1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Grease the insides of the cans and lightly dust them with flour, tapping out the excess. Place the cans on a baking sheet for easier handling, and set aside.
3. Place the buttermilk, oil, egg yolk, and vanilla in a small bowl and stir to mix.
4. Place the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a medium-size mixing bowl and whisk to blend well. Add the buttermilk mixture and whisk just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Fold in the carrots, raisins, nuts, coconut, and pineapple if using.
5. Spoon the batter into the prepared cans, dividing it evenly between them. Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted in the center of one comes out clean, 37 to 39 minutes.
6. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and transfer the cans to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Then run a thin, sharp knife around the edge of each can, and invert the cans to release the cakes. Turn the cakes upright and let them cool on the rack. (The cakes can be wrapped individually in plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.)
7. To frost the cakes, cut each in half horizontally. Spread a layer of the Cream Cheese Frosting about 1/4 inch thick on the cut side of one cake half, then stack the other half on top of it. Frost the top and sides of the cake. Repeat with the remaining cake and frosting. Garnish with additional nuts. (The frosted cakes can be stored, loosely but well covered with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.)

Cream Cheese Frosting
Place the cream cheese and butter in a medium-size bowl, and cream them with a fork or a hand-held electric mixer on medium speed until smooth, about 45 seconds. Sift the confectioners' sugar over the cream cheese mixture; then beat, using a hand-held electric mixer on medium speed, until the frosting is creamy. Stir in the vanilla. Use immediately, or cover and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before serving.
NOTE: You may be surprised to know that when you cut off the tops of empty 14- to 15-ounce cans neatly with a can opener, remove the labels, and wash out the cans thoroughly in the dishwasher, they make wonderful baking pans. The 14- to 15-ounce cans hold just the right amount of batter for a two-layer cake, and an 8-ounce can is a good size for baking single-layer cakes. For easy removal of the baked cakes, you simply butter the inside of the can and cut out a circle of parchment to fit snugly into the bottom. Be sure to use only cans that have no nicks or dents.

Buy The Ingredients
Product nutrition and information
 Quantity Ingredients Est.Price
  Farmland Cultured Lowfat Buttermilk
This product is currently unavailable.
  Spice Select Pure Vanilla Extract - $4.69/ea
  Spice Supreme Ground Cinnamon - $1.19/ea
  Cal-Organic Organic Carrots, Bag - $1.99/ea Save! 2 for $3.00
  FreshDirect Golden Raisins, Resealable Bag - $5.99/16oz
 Resealable Bag
  FreshDirect Pecans - $6.99/6oz
  FreshDirect Dried Coconut Chips, Resealable Bag - $3.69/6oz
 Resealable Bag
  Philadelphia Cream Cheese Spread - $3.39/ea
  Domino Powdered Confectioners Sugar - $1.79/ea
 1lb box
  Dole Pineapple Chunks in Juice - $2.19/ea
You May Already Have
  Gold Medal All Purpose Enriched Bleached Pre-Sifted Flour - $2.29/ea
  Wesson Vegetable Oil - $3.99/ea
  Alderfer Eggs Grade A Large Organic Eggs
This product is currently unavailable.
  Domino Granulated White Sugar - $2.49/ea
 2lb box
  Arm & Hammer Baking Soda - $1.19/ea
  Morton's Regular Salt - $0.99/ea
  Breakstone's All-Natural Unsalted Butter - $2.99/ea
 2 sticks
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