It’s National Carrot Cake Day! Who would have ever thought that one of the most popular cakes around–popular enough to get a national food holiday!–would be made out of shredded vegetables? You won’t be finding turnip cake on the national food holidays calendar any time soon. Carrots are one of the sweetest vegetables, second only to sugar beets, and they work well to flavor, sweeten, and moisten the batter into a great carrot cake. Adding the carrots also gives carrot cake a dense texture, which, coupled with the traditional slightly-sour cream cheese frosting, can make for a really rich cake!
Last year for National Carrot Cake Day I lauded Amy’s Bread as the best carrot cake in the city, which has been a Serious Eats favorite for years now. Even though they’re best known for their interesting twists on typically normal breads–hence their name–Amy’s Bread has been making their simple yet delicious carrot cake for years now, in large sheets of carrot cake squares, topped with a tangy, but sweet, cream cheese frosting. Each of Amy’s Bread’s three locations only makes carrot cake on Thursdays, so by today, most of the sheet cakes will already be sold and eaten! But fear not, because thanks to The Sweeter Side of Amy’s Bread, you can make their scrumptious carrot cake right at home! Their sweet bakery cookbook has a plethora of recipes for cakes, cupcakes, and sweet breads, but I singled out the carrot cake to share with you. And while my last attempt at baking wasn’t a home-run, I may want to try out this recipe and see if my carrot cake comes out more successfull than my chocolate cupcakes!
From The Sweeter Side of Amy’s Bread
5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 3/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon + 1 1/4 teapoons baking soda
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 3/4 tablespoons cinnamon
2 1/3 cups canola oil
8 large eggs
5 1/4 cups carrots, peeled and coarsely grated
1 1/2 cups walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
Cream cheese icing
1. Place the oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the over to 350 degrees F. Spray the sides of the sheet pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom with parchment.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon until they are well combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and oil. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and dtir them together gently with a large wooden spoon until they’re almost completely moistened. Add the carrots and the walnuts to the batter and fold them in until they’re evenly distributed.
3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it into an even layer. The pan will be very full. Place the pan in the lower third of the preheated oven and bake for about 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan comes out clean.
4. Cool the cake completely on a wire rack. When the cake has cooled, leave it in the pan and spread a 1/2 in layer of the icing over the top. Cut the cake into 20 squares to serve it.