Last summer, I entered several kinds of cookies into the Illinois State Fair. Sadly, I was defeated by an old-fashioned plain oatmeal cookie and a crackly, thick peanut butter. You see, each year I've been trying to bake a perfect blue-ribbon cookie...
Well this summer I was at it again. But instead of just baking cookies, I took on another category: Carrot Cake
It was the stand-out at my sister Sarah's wedding reception. It was a homemade carrot cake, three-tiered and iced perfectly. That very cake that was on display at the reception was cut and served to everyone. There was none of that pre-cut sheet cake waiting in the kitchen to be served to the guests… making guests think they are eating the actual wedding cake.
It was at that reception that I fell in love with this carrot cake (actually the icing more than the cake)… But either way, it was delicious and a recipe that I just had to get. So mom and I acquired it from our amazing-baker-family-friend and I decided to enter it into the Illinois State Fair culinary contest under the ‘Carrot Cake’ category. Well, the results are in and I got 3rd place!…Okay I know, it’s not a blue ribbon, but for my first try, I consider it a win!
The recipe calls for cream cheese frosting, but “cream cheese” was not allowed as a frosting ingredient at the fair because it would need to be refrigerated. So I made a vanilla buttercream instead. Either icing is great and the cake is delicious!
I put the cream cheese frosting below. And I also included the buttercream (it’s the one I used for the cake I entered into the fair).
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 ¼ cup oil
- 2 cups carrots, grated
- 3 cups cake flour
- 1 ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup nuts (chopped pecans)
- ½ can (about a cup) well drained crushed pineapple
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Beat eggs, add sugar and oil. Add carrots and vanilla.Mix dry ingredients together (flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt). Gradually add to wet mixture.Add in nuts and pineapple.
- Divide into greased 8” baking pans (makes about three 8” or 9” round pans).Bake about 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:
- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup real butter (2 sticks)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 lbs. powdered sugar
Directions: Cream butter and cream cheese together and add vanilla. Add powdered sugar. Add the powdered sugar until you get the desired consistency for spreading. Whipping the icing for a few minutes will make it fluffy. Chill until ready to use.
VANILLA BUTTERCREAM FROSTING:
- 1/3 cup soft butter
- 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
- 2 tablespoons of milk
Directions: Blend butter and sugar. Stir in vanilla and milk; beat until frosting is smooth and of spreading consistency.