Monday, November 30, 2009

Luscious Caramel Carrot Cake

Luscious Caramel Carrot Cake
Dorcas Annette Walker
I can remember when recipes for Carrot Cake suddenly became popular. Every cook wanted to try out a recipe for Carrot Cake and there were many discussions over which secret ingredients made the best texture or moist cake. At church dinners and reunions you always found a couple of Carrot Cakes to sample among other desserts. Then Carrot Cake mixes became available simplifying the preparation of this intriguing cake and suddenly Carrot Cakes were considered an ordinary cake that anybody could make. Even though I have used Carrot Cake mixes, I never was completeely satisfied with the end result. So I decided to mix some of the old with the new. I came up with waht I call my Luscious Caramel Carrot Cake. This rich cake is a perfect holiday dessert.
Food historians say that the origin of Carrot Cake was likely a type of carrot pudding enjoyed during medieval times and during the Middle Ages when sweetening agents were hard to come by. Carrot Cake became popular in Britain because of the rationing of sugar during the Second World War so as a result carrots were often used. American cookbooks did not start listing Carrot Cake recipes until the early 1900's. It wasn't until the 1960's that Carrot Cake became a dessert of choice at summer family reunions, picnics, and Mother Day celebrations in the United States. Carrot Cake Day is celebrated on February 3rd. Today carrot cake-flavored treats come in such varieties as: carrot cake latte, carrot cake ice cream, and carrot cake flavored treats for dogs. When traveling abroad you can even find fried Carrot Cake in Singapore and Malaysia.
Carrot Cake or Passion Cake is a cake which consists of grated carrots mixed with a spicy batter. The carrot softens in the cooking process making a cake of a soft dense textrure. The carrots themselves enhance the flavor, texture, and appearance of the cake. More adventurous bakers have branched out to embrace some rather exotic carrot cake recipes, which feature such ingredients as: pumpkin, coconut, figs or prunes, chocolate chips, oranges, zucchinni, crystallized ginger, beetroot, mashed sweet potatoes, and papaya. Some chefs also spice their batter with cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Carrot Cake can be eaten plain, but is commonly frosted with white icing or cream cheese icing.
My Luscious Caramel Carrot Cake has a rich, moist cake texture filled with soft raisins, crunchy nuts, and bits of colorful carrots topped by a cream cheese icing that is not only pleasing to the eye, but gives you a homemade tasting delicacy as well. Nobody will believe that this cake uses a store-bought mix. You can substitute raisins for other dried fruit and individualize the taste by experimenting with different spices. The Luscious Caramel Carrot Cake can be as simple or complicated as you wish. Preparation time for my Luscious Caramel Carrot Cake is about twenty minutes (not counting baking or cooking time) and this recipe serves twenty.
Luscious Caramel Carrot Cake
1 carrot cake mix
1/2 c raisins
1/4 c diced or shredded carrots
1/4 c chopped nuts (your choice)
2 (12 oz) containers of cream cheese frosting
1/2 c caramel ice cream topping
Prepare the cake mix as directed adding the raisins, carrots, and nuts before beating. Divide the batter into (2) 9-inch round greased cake pans and bake at 350ยบ for thirty minutes. Let the cakes cool. Whip the cream cheese frosting on high for five minutes and then frost the first cooled layer. Drizzle half of the caramel topping on top of the frosting. Position the second layer over the first and completely cover the cake with frosting. Garnish the cake with shredded carrots, chopped nuts, and caramel topping drizzling it over the top and down the sides!
Weekly tip: You can always change any layer cake recipe into a sheet cake using a 9 x 13 baking dish saving more time. Only use one can of frosting for a sheet cake!
Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin Blog at:

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