Homemade Carrot Cake

Anyone who has carrots in their garden knows that this is the time of the year to dig them. It’s the general consensus among gardeners that carrots should be harvested after the first hard frost and before the ground freezes.

That’s usually my standard operating procedure. This year, however, I won’t have as many carrots to harvest as in the past half-dozen or so years.

Maybe it was the lack of moisture and the layout of my garden this year that kept my carrot crop to a minimum.

Luckily, a friend secured two 5-gallon pails of carrots for me, which Therese and I have proceeded to pressure can minus a few for eating. I’m also keeping a few so we can have fresh carrot cake, one of my favorites.

Here is a tasty-looking carrot cake recipe from Land O Lakes that I may give a shot.

Homemade Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
1 cup butter, melted
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
¾ cup sugar
3 eggs
1 11-ounce can mandarin oranges, undrained
2½ teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
2¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup sweetened flaked coconut
½ cup chopped pecans
4 medium (2 cups) carrots, grated
3½ cups powdered sugar
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla
Chopped pecans, if desired
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine 1 cup butter, brown sugar, sugar and eggs in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add mandarin oranges, 2½ teaspoons vanilla and orange zest. Continue beating until well-mixed.
Reduce speed to low; add flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Beat, scraping bowl often, until well mixed. Stir in coconut, ½ cup pecans and carrots.
Pour into greased and floured 13-by-9-inch baking pan. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely.
Meanwhile, combine all frosting ingredients except chopped pecans in medium bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until smooth. Frost cooled cake. Sprinkle with pecans, if desired.
Yield: Serves 15.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 520 calories, 24 grams fat, 100 milligrams cholesterol, 440 milligrams sodium, 72 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams dietary fiber, 6 grams protein.