Friday, April 6, 2012

Carrot Cake with Buttercream Frosting

Carrot Cake with Buttercream Frosting - Recipe Courtesy of Claire Criscuolo of Claire's Corner Copia in New Haven, CT - Photo by Taste As You Go

I have a confession. I intended to post the recipe for this Carrot Cake with Buttercream Frosting last year. The grand plan was to share the recipe after the cake was well-received by the guests of a Thanksgiving dinner.

Yes, Thanksgiving. I made this cake, although not for the first time, back in November. Where the hell did the time go?


Carrot Cake - Recipe Courtesy of Claire Criscuolo of Claire's Corner Copia in New Haven, CT - Photo by Taste As You Go

It's a good thing that Carrot Cake with Buttercream Frosting is an appropriate dessert for any occasion, whether it be the sweet conclusion to a holiday celebration, a birthday party, or a bridal shower. Okay, I'll just say it. This cake is appropriate to serve at any time.

Even at 8am as a naughty little breakfast treat.

Don't judge me. You know you've eaten cake for breakfast, too.
The recipes for both the cake and the frosting come to you from Claire Criscuolo, the owner of Claire's Corner Copia, one of my absolute favorite restaurants EVER. Located in New Haven, Connecticut, Claire's is an indisputable landmark of the city and features an incredible menu of tantalizingly delicious homemade vegetarian dishes, ranging from omelettes to soups to sandwiches to salads to flat bread pizzas to an insane offering of Mexican dishes. 

Oh! And the quiche. Claire's quiche is amazing.

I have never eaten anything at Claire's that left me feeling disappointed or unsatisfied. The hardest thing about eating there was always deciding what to eat in a reasonable amount of time as not to annoy the person waiting to order in line behind you.

Carrot Cake with Buttercream Frosting - Recipe Courtesy of Claire Criscuolo of Claire's Corner Copia in New Haven, CT - Photo by Taste As You Go

I grew up in Connecticut, so I had the fortunate advantage of visiting Claire's on a fairly regular basis. The frequency of visits increased exponentially after I got my license and was given access to the family minivan.

No matter what I wound up eating for lunch (or dinner), I always ordered a slice of Claire's Carrot Cake with Buttercream Frosting for dessert. It was my favorite thing on the menu and I never let the opportunity to enjoy a piece slip through my hands.

Carrot Cake with Buttercream Frosting - Recipe Courtesy of Claire Criscuolo of Claire's Corner Copia in New Haven, CT - Photo by Taste As You Go

It was my utterly ridiculous love for Claire's carrot cake that ultimately prompted me to buy a copy of her then-recently published Claire's Corner Copia Cookbook: 225 Homestyle Vegetarian Recipes from Claire's Family to Yours before I went off to college in Pennsylvania. The cookbook included recipes for the cake and the buttercream frosting, and whenever I started missing home, I pulled out the cookbook and baked that cake.

The first time I made Claire's cake ended up a spectacular failure. The cake was burned and heavier than anything I had ever baked before. It took me hours to come to the conclusion that I completely misread the recipe.

NOTE: 1 CUP of canned pineapple does NOT equal 1 CAN of canned pineapple.

Carrot Cake with Buttercream Frosting - Recipe Courtesy of Claire Criscuolo of Claire's Corner Copia in New Haven, CT - Photo by Taste As You Go

The memory of cleaning my baking supplies after that disaster has embedded itself in my brain and I've never made that mistake again! And I've given you fair warning, so, hopefully, you won't make that mistake either.

If you're still scratching your head over what to make for dessert after your Easter dinner on Sunday, then I implore you to try Claire's cake. I'm positive you'll fall in love with it just like I did over 15 years ago. Special thanks to Claire for granting me permission to share the recipes with you!

Carrot Cake - Serves 8
Reprinted with permission from Claire's Corner Copia Cookbook
Printable Recipe

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup soybean or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup drained crushed pineapple
  • 3/4 cup grated carrots
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 cup raisins

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs for 1 minute, using a hand mixer. Add the oil and mix on medium speed for 1 minute. Stir in the drained pineapple. Pour this mixture all at once over the dry ingredients and mix lightly to combine.
  4. Stir in the carrots, walnuts, and raisins. Mix just to combine, using a spoon.
  5. Prepare a 10-cup bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray, or grease and flour the pan. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake on the center rack of the oven about 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until the cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Remove from the oven and let stand for 5 minutes; then turn out and cool to room temperature before frosting with Buttercream Frosting (see below).

Buttercream Frosting -  Makes enough to frost a large bundt cake
Reprinted with permission from Claire's Corner Copia Cookbook
Printable Recipe

INGREDIENTS
  • 4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons margarine or soy margarine, at room temperature
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Using a hand mixer on medium speed, beat together the butter and margarine about 3 minutes, or until light and creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
  2. Add the confectioners' sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating about 2 minutes after each addition, until light and creamy.
  3. Beat in the vanilla extract.

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