Retro Carrot Cake

24 Mar

Organic old fashion carrot cake

This Retro Carrot Cake is packed with spiced goodness and topped with a creamy cloud of *Cream Cheese Swiss Meringue Buttercream.*
(say THAT 3 times fast!).

Out walking the dog, I landed a major garage sale find last weekend. I’m not usually one for garage sales but this one was special. It was the rare garage sale where older neighbors are moving and everything had to go. Amid the linens, cheese knives, smoker and copper pans I found a Cuisinart. Not just any Cuisinart, a vintage Cuisinart!

Because of my vintage Cuisinart, I’ve been feeling in a retro sort of mood lately. When I baked a ‘lil carrrot cake for my Dad’s birthday, I used my Cuisinart and went with a retro photo theme, too.

The holy grail of Cuisinarts – a genuine 1970’s era DLC-7 Super Pro model made in Japan. All the bells and whistles: a white & brown knit cover (seriously!!), 11 blades for dicing ‘n slicing, even a meringue egg whipping attachment. All of it in mint condition. Priced at $75, I bargained her down to $50, then $40 for this awesome piece of history.

This baby is powerful. I couldn’t wait to test her out! For my father’s birthday, I baked a carrot cake which, as you may know, involves a lot of grating of carrots. By hand, it takes 8, maybe 10 minutes of grating [and lots of scraped fingers, in my case]. With this Cuisinart, we’re talking secondsYeah, baby!

Retro carrot cake close up

Oraganic carrots for carrot cake

For the best carrot cake, use fresh, young, organic carrots. My ideal would be locally grown but my CSA isn’t selling any right now. So I purchased the organic carrots at my local supermarket.

The carrot cake is amazing. I make this recipe for my mom, dad AND husband every year for their birthdays. It’s a dense cake that pairs really well with the creamy tang of cream cheese frosting.

One thing I need to say: The frosting I made for the cake this time – Cream Cheese SMB – while light as air it gave me SO much trouble. It took over an hour to get the cream cheese to fully emulsify. Once I get the frosting recipe ironed out, I’ll post it but I didn’t want to recommend it just yet…

For now, just pair this retro carrot cake with your favorite cream cheese icing.

Retro Carrot Cake

Adapted from All Recipes Carrot Cake
Prep Time: 45 minutes | Bake Time: 35-40 minutes | Oven: 350 F
Makes 2, 9″ carrot cake rounds

2 cups White Sugar
2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 tsp Salt
4 tsp Ground Cinnamon
2 tsp Ground Ginger
1 tsp Ground Cloves
1 tsp Ground Nutmeg
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 1/2 cups Vegetable Oil
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
4 Eggs
3 cups Carrots, Grated
1 cup Walnuts, toasted and chopped (optional)
1 cup Raisins (optional)

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 F. To make your life easier, grease and line the baking pan with parchment rounds (otherwise you may have trouble getting the cake out of the pans).

2. Grate 3 cups of fresh carrots. If you have a Cuisinart, use it!

3. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, flour, salt, spices, baking soda, vanilla and oil. Beat the eggs in one at a time. Stir in the carrots, walnuts and raisins.

Cracking eggs for carrot cake

4. Pour batter into your prepared pans and bake for up to 40 minutes. Check the cake with a toothpick for doneness.

5. Remove pans from oven and cool on a wire rack.

6. Ice my retro carrot cake with your favorite frosting and enjoy!

Retro carrot cake partially devoured

Too much icing? This is how my family likes it. And remember SMB is not too sweet. 

Like I mentioned above, the frosting was temperamental  But I think Cream Cheese Swiss Meringue Buttercream has so much potential. It’s tangy, buttery and not too sweet. Do you have a favorite cream cheese frosting recipe? Let me know in the comments!

– Beth the Baker



9 Responses to “Retro Carrot Cake”

  1. Jeremy March 24, 2013 at 10:49 am #

    I’m normally not a huge fan of one-layer cakes, because the all important C:F (Cake to Frosting) ratio becomes more biased towards cake. Not so for this cake! The ratio was just right.

    I especially liked the extra flavor the pre-toasted walnuts gave the cake. It seems like some people add raw walnuts to their carrot cakes, which don’t fully develop their flavor before the cake is done. How much did you toast the walnuts beforehand?

    • Beth @ Decadent Dragon March 24, 2013 at 9:54 pm #

      Thanks, Jer! I toasted the walnuts about 8-10 minutes. They should be a light golden brown but not too dark.

  2. Sarah Blood March 28, 2013 at 4:47 pm #

    This looks delicious! I love the photo with the stacked egg shells.

  3. Sandra S. April 14, 2013 at 11:12 pm #

    Umm, yum!

    • Beth @ Decadent Dragon April 15, 2013 at 9:39 am #

      Glad you like it!!

  4. Alison May 12, 2013 at 7:37 am #

    This looks amazingly decadent! I’m getting hungry and it’s a little too early for cake :)

  5. CatieB June 22, 2013 at 4:20 pm #

    Just found your ever so cool and friendly blog! The road trip pics were lovely, the lake, the blooms. Very Nice. There is a place, Port Huron, Michigan, that is called the Blue Water area. On a sunny day in June, when the sun is shining, and the sky is blue, the water just sparkles like trillions of aquamarine jewels. The living on the lake and later on the lower river, being able to appreciate everyday that beautiful blue water, made me understand what captivated my husband to go back to live there. He had been raised around the area. Once one does, they are always drawn back. Lake Shasta reminds me of that…hopefully one day I will get there to see too!
    In the meantime….…It is now almost the last of June…how time flies!….And I wonder if you have perfected your carrot cake frosting yet? I love variations on the cream cheese frostings, and your mention of this one intrigued me.

    I hope your job is going well, and you have enjoyed your time there!

    All the best,

    • Beth @ Decadent Dragon July 9, 2013 at 7:18 pm #

      Thanks, Catie! With my new job, I haven’t been doing as much baking as I’d like. My company is very seasonal — we help brides — and ’tis the season! So, definitely keep in touch. I hope to do some perfecting soon for my husband’s b-day! Port Huron sounds beautiful. We visited Ann Arbor last year and drove north-east up through Michigan and Canada to Niagara Falls. It was a gorgeous drive. My family is from Michigan and it was a great trip.

  6. Sarah Blood August 13, 2013 at 5:04 pm #

    This looks delicious, and I love the photo of the eggs!

    Can you get parchment paper/rounds at the grocery store? I only just learned that they are different from wax paper…

    I learned that the hard way. No fire, only smoke and embarrassment.

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