Carrot Cake with Maple Buttercream

This cake is a product of excess. Due to a surplus of carrots I had bought at the grocery store. I love carrots, I snack on them like chips, but a giant five-pound bag of organic, full-sized carrots was too much for me to eat in single week. So what's a baker to do with left over carrots?
Bake them in a cake. Duh.
The rest of the cake was actually due to larder. I had just enough cranberries, just enough sugar, just enough almonds to suffice. It's full-on wintertime now, and I wanted to make a cake using whatever my kitchen could provide.

Turns out I have never baked classic carrot cake before. I'd just eaten enough of the stuff  to feel like an expert. So I took this as an opportunity to change that. I modified the cake recipe from Joy the Baker's Carrot Cake Cupcakes.
I thought about making traditional cream cheese frosting, but then through laziness I decided that I wanted to try something different. The frosting was a concoction of butter, sugar, maple syrup, and hope. It ended up very creamy, with a not-too-sweet, caramely (?) flavor. Yum.

Ingredients For the Cake:

3 cups All Purpose Flour
1 1/2  tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
4 cups carrots, peeled and shredded
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup cranberries
1/2 cup almonds


1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Peel and finely grate the carrots. This takes time. I recommend watching an episode of Parks & Rec while your triceps get a work out.
2. Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Set aside.
3. In a separate bowl, beat the oil, sugar, and brown sugar until completely combined. Then beat in the eggs and vanilla. Fold in the shredded carrots, raisins, cranberries, and almonds.
4. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix until completely incorporated.
5. Scoop into a lined muffin tin, or pour into two 8-inch spring-form pans. (I did both, and only used one cake pan).
6. Bake until golden brown:
For Cupcakes: 20-25 minutes
For Cake: 25-30 minutes

For the Frosting:

2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup, plus extra for decoration
1 teaspoon vanilla

To Make:

1. In a stand mixer, beat the butter until pale. Slowly add the sugar and continue to beat until fluffy.

2. Add the maple syrup and vanilla, and mix until completely incorporated.

3. Spread or pipe onto cakes once they are completely cool. Drizzle remaining maple syrup, pancake-style.


Happy Baking!


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