Carrot Cake with Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting

6 May, 2016

Carrot Cake with Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting

Does it get any better than a spiced carrot cake with a dreamy, ginger-infused cream cheese frosting?

I learned how to cook from my amazing mother. She taught me everything I know, from making fresh pasta dough to the importance of seasoning and of course, how to eat very well. Whenever I have a question about cooking or baking, she's my go-to and usually answers me faster than a Google search. Simply put - she's the best!

For this month's recipe, I enlisted her guidance in making a carrot cake from scratch. While I consider myself more a savory cook than a baker, I love to experiment with desserts yet also understand the importance of following a recipe while baking. I wanted to showcase Gourmet Garden's Ginger Stir-In Paste and Lightly Dried Ginger and figured a carrot cake would be the perfect vessel. Given the spices used in a carrot cake recipe, I figured I'd be able to incorporate the ginger into both the cake batter and the frosting . 

Let me preface this recipe by saying it's definitely a time-intensive cake. This particular recipe calls for 1 lb of coarsely grated carrots. Would you believe me if I told you we accidentally ended up grating TWO lb's of carrots instead of 1? Yeah - definitely time-intensive. If you have an attachment grater for your mixer or even a box grater, I highly suggest using them as we only had hand-graters and it took a bit more time. Regardless, it's worth putting in the time on grating the carrots to the desired consistency because the coarser the carrots, the more moist the cake. 

In the end, I was so pleased that the Ginger-Stir in Paste & Lightly Dried yielded a tangy spiciness that elevated the flavor of a traditional carrot cake. The cream cheese frosting was delectable and hard not to lick off the spoon as I frosted the cake. As my mom and I sat down to enjoy a slice after our day of baking, I realized what a treat it was to learn yet another thing in the kitchen from the woman who has taught me so much already. If you're searching for a way to surprise Mom, a Mother's Day treat or even a recipe to bake together on her special day, this Carrot Cake with Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting fits the bill!

Carrot Cake with Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting (Adapted from Bon Appetit)

For the Carrot Cake

  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 lb carrots, peeled, coarsely grated
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 teaspoons Gourmet Garden Ginger Stir-In Paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Lightly Dried Ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil

For the Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons Gourmet Garden Ginger Stir-In Paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Gourmet Garden Lightly Dried Ginger
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • generous pinch of kosher salt
  • 3 cups powdered sugar

Assembly

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat two 9"diameter cake pans with nonstick spray. Line bottoms with parchment paper rounds. Lightly coat rounds with nonstick spray.

Meanwhile, toast walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing once, until golden brown, 8-10 minutes. Let cool. Combine carrots and buttermilk in a medium bowl.

Whisk flour, cinnamon, ginger stir-in paste, ginger lightly dried, nutmeg, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract until pale and thick, about 4 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low and gradually stream in oil. Add the dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with carrot mixture in 2 additions, beginning and ending with dry ingredients, mix until smooth. Fold in walnuts with a rubber spatula. Scrape the batter into prepared pans.

Bake cakes, rotating pans halfway through, until a tester in the center comes out clean, 35-45 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack and let cakes cool for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the sides of cakes and invert onto a wire rack, remove parchment. Let cakes cool completely.

Frosting and assembly

Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl until smooth, about 1 minute. Beat in vanilla, Ginger Stir-In Paste, Lightly Dried Ginger and salt. Reduce speed to low and gradually mix in powdered sugar. Increase speed to high and beat frosting until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Place 1 cake, domed side down on a platter. Spread 3/4 cup frosting evenly over top. Place remaining cake, domed side down, on top. Spread top and sides with 1 1/4 cups frosting and chill 30 minutes to let frosting set. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides, swirling decoratively.

Carrot Cake

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