“Anything you can do,
I can do better.
I can do anything
Better than you.
No, you can’t.
Yes, I can. No, you can’t.
Yes, I can. No, you can’t.
Yes, I can,
YES, I CAN!”
–Annie Get Your Gun
HAPPY OLYMPICS 2012! I am beyond excited that it is the night of the London 2012 Olympic kickoff. I am sitting on my couch with a beer in hand cheering on the good ole U-S-of-A.
Every two years the Olympics are a time for the world to forgo their differences and come together to compete for the greatest sporting events in the world. I am beyond proud to call myself an American and also a Gator, as the University of Florida’s Marching Band will preform before the opening ceremonies, several UF athletes will be competing, and UF’s swimming coach Gregg Troy will be coaching the men’s US swimming team. Not a bad representation of my alma mater at all in my opinion.
Keeping with the theme of healthy completion, I want to share with you my challenge of taking on J. Alexander’s carrot cake, which several weeks ago my grandmother came over for dinner ranting and raving about. Being a fan of anything that is covered in cream cheese frosting, I instantly had a craving for a slice of heaven myself.
Being a broke college student who works at a bike shop part-time to make some dough and also a health fanatic, I though it was more economical and wasteband-ical to make a carrot cake at home. I had seen Skinnytaste’s Super Moist Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting in the past and decided to adapt it to my own liking, which I seem to be doing a lot more off.
Skinnytaste is a great blog, because it is focused on making tasty, yet good for you food. Most healthy blogs and chefs can keep the calories low and create a beautiful meal, but when amateurs like myself try to recreate them at home the recipes leave something to be desired. In the spirit of the Olympics, I’m not going to smack talk and call anyone out.
Any who, I made Skinnytaste’s carrot cake, but changed some things, which led to a chain reaction of other changes. First, I decided to not strain the canned crushed pineapples to add even more moisture to the cake, because if not careful carrot cake can be a crumbly, dry mess. Second, due to the mixture being more liquid, I opted to put it in two round cake pans to avoid a soggy center and burnt sides. Third, due to having more surface space, I doubled the cream cheese frosting recipe to ensure there was enough frosting to go around. Fourth (not part of the chain reaction, but also important in my book), I added more coconut and cinnamon to amp up the flavoring. Fifth (and being a southern), I subbed walnuts for pecans and mixed in some nutmeg for warmth.
Luckily for me, all the experimenting paid off, because my grandmother was so impressed with the carrot cake, saying that it is was WAY better than J. Alexander’s. Therefore, mission accomplished, challenge WON.
I know for a fact that Mawga wasn’t just being a loving grandmother and trying to boost my self-esteem, because she requested me to make it the next week yet again. I, being the obedient and loving granddaughter, complied. Two weeks now of eating carrot cake and I am still not sick of it. That says something!
I may not be an Olympian, but hopefully with a little of my help (and also a little bit of Skinnytaste’s) you will be inspired to recreate your own favorites at home. Just don’t forget to share them with your loved ones. After all, cooking, just like the Olympics, is all about bringing people together.
Cheers and go USA (and UF)!
Doubly Layered, Doubly Good:
Emily’s Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
(Adapted from Skinnytaste)
- 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup flaked sweetened coconut
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups grated carrots, peeled
- 20 oz. can crushed pineapple in juice, drained
- 3/4 cup toasted, chopped pecans 1/2 cup for topping
Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:
- 2- 8 oz 1/3 fat Philadelphia Cream Cheese
- 2 cup powdered sugar
- 3 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°. Whisk together flour, sugar, coconut, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. In separate bowl, beat together remaining ingredients, except pecans. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients while continuing to mix with beaters. Once thoroughly combined, fold in pecans.
Divide batter into two round cake pans that are coated with Pam. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until center thoroughly cooked and bounces back when touched.
Cool cakes on rack and then put in refrigerator to keep cool.
Once cake thoroughly cooled, make frosting by beating together cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla until relatively fluffy. Remove cakes from pans and invert. Top each cake with half of the frosting, and then layer cakes. Crumble remaining pecans onto the top of the layered cake.
To avoid the top layer from slipping off the bottom, you can use three toothpicks to secure it, but remember to remove toothpicks once serving cake.