Cake Please. Hold the Frosting

Cake has never been a favorite dessert of mine. I love ice cream. I love cookies and brownies but typically I am turned off from cake because of frosting. Growing up, I never liked eating the cake at birthday parties. It was always way too sweet and would make me feel sick. Since I grew up with a mother that could bake, I definitely appreciate homemade cakes and typically the frosting she makes is fairly light. However, in general, less frosting is great with me!

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Cream cheese frosting is ONE exception! Hence, the love of carrot cake 😀 There is something about carrot cake that is so delicious. I love the moist texture the shredded carrots help provide.

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Since it is probably my love of cream cheese that makes me like cream cheese frosting, the addition of sugar must still be light and the frosting layer thin. The right amount of GOOD frosting can compliment the cake so well but honestly I still love eating cake plain 😀

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Can you tell I am not a good cake decorator!? And the middle collapsed! ha ha

Carrot Cake
~Adapted from Ina Garten
~Can be made Gluten/Dairy-Free

2 c. sugar
1 c. vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 t vanilla
2 c. gluten-free flour mixture (or all purpose flour if making gluten-full)
2 t xanthum gum (only use with gluten-free flour)
1-2 t ground cinnamon
2 t baking soda
1 ½ t kosher salt
1 lb (4 cups) carrots,

My mom always makes this gluten/dairy-free and it is SO good! I have made it gluten-free but not dairy-free since I cannot give up cream cheese! My mom just uses vegan cream cheese and Earth Balance in the frosting.

The frosting amounts are adjusted from Ina’s recipe. I did not want to use more than one package of cream cheese (which is 8 oz) so I adjusted it according to that. Also the sugar is just an estimate. I make it to taste.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz cream cheese (recipe calls for 3/4 lb)
10 T butter (recipe calls for 1/2 lb)
3-4 c confectioners sugar (recipe calls for 1 lb)
1 t pure vanilla extract

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What To Do:

  • Grate carrots in a Cuisinart or if you’re like me and don’t have one, use a grater (Cuisinart in picture above is from baking at my Aunt and Uncle’s house). It is much quicker with the Cuisinart though! I am definitely asking for one for my birthday 🙂
  • Microwave carrots 2-3 minutes. Set aside.
  • Beat sugar, oil and eggs in a bowl of an electric mixer. Add the vanilla and mix again.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the flour (and xanthum gum if making GF), baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add to the wet ingredients. Add the carrots and mix until combined.
  • Pour batter into a 13 x 9 baking dish (for sheet cake) or into two round cake pans (for layer cake). Ina’s recipe is for muffins so that is also an option 🙂 For the sheet or layer cake, check after about 15-20 minutes. Keep checking every 5 minutes or so until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • For the frosting, mix the cream cheese, butter and vanilla in a bowl of an electric mixer. Add the sugar and mix until smooth.
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I should probably stick to sheet cakes…

A Little More:

If making your own gluten-free flour mixture, here is a suggestion: 2 c brown rice to 2/3 potato starch to 1/3 tapioca. Make this anytime and keep in your cupboard for easy gluten-free baking.

Eating gluten? Try the carrot cake with your favorite IPA 🙂

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Music For Your Ears:

~Set The Fire To the Third Bar by Snow Patrol feat. Martha Wainwright

More To Love:

GF Angel Food Cake

GF Angel Food Cake

Omission Beer

Omission Beer

Pumpkin Cookies

Pumpkin Cookies

GF Zucchini Bread

GF Zucchini Bread


39 responses to “Cake Please. Hold the Frosting

  1. I’m with you, many of the cakes I often make are sans frosting. The exception is I also love cream cheese frosting (for the tanginess,) but it’s rare I’d make one at home, (I should never say never though ;))

    • ha ha Ya, I don’t make many cakes at home…more of a brownie and cookie kind of gal but I wanted to share this lovely carrot cake recipe with everyone! It is very delicious 🙂

  2. I concur with your frosting aversion. It overwhelms all the other tastes and textures going on. Lovely recipe and photos 🙂 And cream cheese frosting is definitely a good thing.

  3. Pingback: Nature on Tap | Lilly Sue's Bites and Brews·

  4. Hi Lilly Sue! Finally, Colorado is warming up! The weather has been beautiful last couple days.
    I grew up in England, we don’t do frosting there, at least we didn’t back many years ago…so I am the same way as you..less is more for me, in fact most times I just take it all off. However, cream cheese frosting is a fave of mine too and I love it with carrot cake!
    I am glad you posted this gf one, I’ve been trying to watch my gluten intake. This looks great!


    • This is definitely a great GF recipe! I haven’t tried them next to each other but I really don’t think there was any difference in taste..the carrots mask any flavor from the GF flour. I even didn’t mind the vegan cream cheese frosting my mom used.

      The weather has been gorgeous…got a little sun today! I was outside playing volleyball for far too long 🙂

  5. This cake looks fantastic. It’s funny, I usually say I love cake, but I don’t like most frosting. Cream cheese and whipped cream are two exceptions for sure. I think I need to just admit it that I would take cookies over cake OR pie, but I would definitely enjoy your carrot cake. Oh, and thank you for leaving out the raisins! I knew I liked you 😉

    • I do prefer ice cream, brownies and cookies over cake. But I also love a good cake so I guess it is a toss up 🙂 Definitely no raisins! Recipes calls for that though…

  6. Hi Lilly Sue, thanks so much for stopping by Savoring Today and commenting. I so appreciate finding new blogs and enjoyed this post very much. I too am not a frosting fan — a good friend of mine that loves frosting always lurks around my cake plate for the scraped off leftovers (did I mention we are GOOD friends?). Cream cheese frosting is one of the few exceptions and less sugar is always a good thing for me, I think I like it even more because it comes with carrot cake. Yum!

    • ha ha definitely agree! Cream cheese frosting is usually accompanied by carrot cake and pumpkin muffins which are things I love 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  7. When I was a kid I loved the frosting more than the cake! The more frosting, the better. Now, although I certainly enjoy frosting, like you I too often find it way too sweet. This looks wonderful! Perfect in all respects. Thanks.

  8. This was the recipe you’d mentioned on Twitter, right? Worth the wait. Looks wonderful! (ps I’m right there with you re frosting – in general not my cup of tea at all)

  9. I am 100% your opposite with cake. The more frosting the better! When I was younger I would always eat the corner pieces at birthday parties and the store bought cakes were my favorite. I would also eat my friends icing. HA! I am more of a cupcake eater these days, but still..LOVE me some frosting! This carrot cake looks delicious!

    • So you were one of ‘those’ kids 😉 I was waiting for someone to not agree with me! ha ha We would be perfect party goers…you get the frosting and I’ll take the cake! 🙂 I assume you are similar with your Oreo eating? I would give up the middle of an Oreo any day.

  10. Great cake recipe and I like that you add sugar to taste for the frosting. I’m not nearly as enamored with sugar as I was when 8 years old and yours is a great solution.

    • ha ha isn’t that funny how it changes?! Thanks for commenting!

      Hoping to make a fish dish this weekend (since fish is on sale at Whole Foods) and wondering what you will think of it 🙂

  11. I agree with you re: frosting (aka “icing” if you’re from Australia). I’ll never understand how cupcakes got so popular – waaaaay too sweet! Cream cheese frosting is definitely an exception. I think it might be because it’s more cheese than sugar…and cheese(liness) is, as we all know, close to godliness! 🙂

    • That must be it! I love cheese and well cream cheese is no exception 🙂 I have never been a cupcake person either except I think they are beautiful. I am going to be experimenting with them though and not much icing will be used or at least it will be cream cheese frosting or light on the sugar! Oh, and beer will be involved 🙂

  12. Even though I’m not really into cakes I’ve always loved carrot cake, with not so sweet icing. I’ve never made one, and it is on the agenda. Banana cake tomorrow! What, Johnny’s baking? Hmm, maybe the last word should’ve been spelt with an r.

  13. cake looks good, Lilly Sue. I’m not much into decorating (which you just read about @ foodforfun) either, but it’s more about how it tastes than what it looks like, yes? Though for me it’s more about the frosting–funny how we’re all different. Love carrot cake and good to see it goes gluten-free quite nicely!

    Speaking of cakes, one of my faves is a chocolate stout cake with stout also in the frosting. Perhaps there should be beer in your cake, too? haha.

    • It seems you are always reading my mind…Of corse beer should be in cake and frosting 🙂 There will be plenty of beer cakes, brownies and ice cream coming your way. I just can’t keep up with the demand 😉

  14. I too really love carrot cake and although I like an iced cake it must be a thinnish layer and not hurt your teeth sweet. Cream cheese icing is probably my favorite, I even add cream cheese to chocolate icing. It tones down the sweet. Yummy cake!

  15. I am totally the same way about frosting. 🙂 It’s not usually that great, and then they put two inches of it on the cake!?! LOL. Cream cheese frosting is soooooo good, though. Mmmm …

    • I know! Maybe my issue has always been frosting in moderation. It is suppose to be some frosting with that cake, not some cake with that frosting 😀 thanks!

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