Carrot Cake with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

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This weekend was my much needed break between finishing my 200-hour training and starting my extension training so I celebrated by enjoying a lot of good food mostly given to/made for me by good friends.

We’ve been blessed with ridiculously beautiful weather in Seattle recently and on Friday a few friends and I decided to go to Gasworks park to picnic, slack-line and AcroYoga. They brought a few bottles of wine, a couple of cheese, olives, crackers, fresh fruit and a few varieties of chocolate. Sooo perfect and yummy.

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On Sunday one of my other good friends came over to make brunch, drink mimosas and surprisingly do some work. I love getting cooking ideas from her because she comes up with really interesting food combinations I wouldn’t have considered (such as this broccoli-parsley salad she keeps mentioning that I’ll hopefully make soon).

I was thinking about all the new ingredients I’ve been cooking with recently and realized I’m on my third era of cooking. The first one was when I first started cooking around age 12 which included your basic protein-starch-veggie dishes. Then I went into a slightly more adventurous (and more vegetarian) style of cooking yet still kept to the basics. But recently I’ve been trying to cook with foods or styles I’ve never used before or try them out in very different ways, which has been really fun.

One of the things I realized is that I’ve never really cooked brunch foods. Maybe it’s because I don’t eat brunch very often since I’m more of a late eater. Breakfast tacos are probably my only exception but even those I make more for dinner than breakfast/brunch.  But I had recently been coming across a lot of interesting brunch recipes and decided I should start giving it a shot.  However, I take no credit for the brunch Lina and I had on Sunday. Thanks to her wonderful mind we made this salmon, potato, kale and goat cheese frittata accompanied by honey mango (which ironically enough is pretty sour but oh, so divine):

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During brunch we also had a long discussion the merits of giving gifts or celebrating days randomly rather than on a prescribed holiday and I think Sunday was definitely one of those times.

Later we went over to her boyfriend’s house for some more yummy food–fried eggplant with mozzarella and pomodoro sauce–wine and poker (I seem to be sensing a pattern with all of my activities…) Anyway, I finally contributed to the food making process instead of just the eating with this carrot cake. It was an extremely last minute decision to bake this cake so I picked the simplest recipe I had bookmarked and made that. Confession: It might have actually been the first time I made a cake with only 1 layer. However, since my genetic code renders me completely incapable of following just one recipe I made brown butter cream cheese frosting instead of the frosting called for in the original. I didn’t have quite enough powdered sugar in my pantry for the recipe, but I actually ended up liking the flavor more because you could really taste the nuttiness of the brown butter and it wasn’t overpowered by sweetness. So I would suggest continuously tasting it until you find the right sweetness for you. And yes, you can now use me as an excuse to eat as much icing as you want. You’re welcome.

Oh, and speaking of sweet, I ended up winning the poker game with a last hand of 4 aces. Holla!

Happy Tuesday! And always remember: You CAN have your cake and eat it too. And if the other person is too slow you can have theirs as well.

Ingredients

Cake

1 c light brown sugar, packed (or dark brown sugar)
3/4 c vegetable oil
1/4 c greek yogurt (or regular yogurt, plain or vanilla)
3 large eggs
2 t vanilla extract
2 c all-purpose flour
1 t baking soda
2 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t ground nutmeg + ginger
1/2 t salt
2 c very finey grated carrots
3/4 c pecan pieces

Frosting

2 sticks of butter (room temperature)
16 oz. cream cheese (room temperature)
1 t vanilla extract
dash of sea salt
3-4 c. powdered sugar

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray 9 or 10inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

Make the carrot cake: In a large bowl combine the brown sugar and oil. Beat in the yogurt until fully combined – about 60 seconds. Mixture will be gritty and thick. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla. Set aside.

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In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. With a spatula, manually stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined and all flour pockets are gone – do not overmix. Fold in the finely shredded carrots and pecan pieces. Pour into prepared springform pan.

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Bake cake for 32-38 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Check the cake at 30 minutes, then again at 32. Allow cake to cool completely before frosting.

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For the frosting: Place one stick of butter in a small saucepan. Cook on medium-high heat until butter is browned, about 5 minutes. Pour into small bowl and refrigerate for 15 minutes to cool.

Once cooled, cream together browned butter, regular butter, and cream cheese until smooth. Add vanilla extract and salt. Mix.

Add powdered sugar one cup at a time. Mix well between each addition and keep adding until you reach your desired sweetness.

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Frost cake and decorate with pecans if desired.

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