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Last weekend we celebrated my great aunt’s birthday, and she, like me, is a lover of Carrot Cake. I always need an excuse to make this recipe, as I know as soon as I make it, I will want to lick the frosting right out of the bowl and won’t have the willpower to say no to more than one slice.
About five or six years ago, in The Oregonian FOODay section, one of my favorite delicatessens in Portland, Elephants Delicatessen shared their recipe for Carrot Cake, and I quickly cut it out of the newspaper and tucked it away in my recipe binder.
One of the simplest recipes you’ll find, it boosts a very moist cake with addictive cream cheese frosting. I highly suggest adding the optional lemon zest as it brings the curious pop of flavor that everyone will be asking you about. Absolutely delicious, I promise, you’ll want to keep this one somewhere safe as well.
Elephants Deli’s Carrot Cake
-Makes 12 servings
*2 cups granulated sugar
*1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
*2 cups all-purpose flour
*2 teaspoons baking soda
* 1 teaspoon salt
*1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
*3 cups chopped carrots (using a food processor saves oodles of time)
*1/2 cup chopped walnuts
*12 ounces cream cheese (1 1/2 8oz packages or four 3 ounce packages) softened
*1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened (1 stick – use real butter)
*1 tablespoon vanilla
*about 1/2 cup powdered sugar – add more to your taste preference
*1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest (optional, but highly recommended!)
To make cake: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour two 8 or 9-inch round cake pans. In a large bowl, combine sugar, oil, eggs, flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, carrots and walnuts. Bake in prepared pans for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until toothpick comes out clean.
To make frosting: With mixer (or fork) cream the cheese. Add butter and beat just until smooth and creamy. Add vanilla. Add powdered sugar spoonful by spoonful until it reaches the desired sweetness. Add lemon zest, if desired.
Note: cake should be refrigerated.
Such an easy recipe to bring a delicious special occasion something sweet to eat. Grab a glass of cold milk, coffee or tea and enjoy!