Easter is such a cute, happy holiday. Pastels, dresses, egg hunts and of course, chocolate bunnies. A few years ago I started a tradition in which I get the fiancé a chocolate bunny for Easter. The first year he asked, as a joke and I found the largest chocolate bunny in existence. This thing weighed 2 pounds, no joke. It caught my eye in the grocery store aisle as a little boy was pointing to it, begging his Mom to get it for him. She did not acquiesce, as it was obviously absurd. My eyes lit up, I clasped my hands in delight and thought ‘PERFECT’. Needless to say, Mom was a bit displeased as I excitedly plucked it from the shelf, giving me the ol’ evil eye. Personally I thought this was a valuable life lesson I just taught this child. Some kids get 2 lb chocolate bunnies for Easter…and some don’t. The world is a cruel place. I do however think remnants of a foot is still in our freezer.
Easter is the perfect holiday for Carrot Cake. I’ve found that carrot cake is the cake equivalent to the herb cilantro. You either love it, or you hate it. However, before you totally write it off, I ask you to try MY carrot cake. My carrot cake has hand-grated carrots for a smoother batter, walnuts that add a deep nutty flavor and a cream cheese frosting you’ll wish you could swim in. Not to mention the most adorable chocolate eggs I found here and of which I’m now completely obsessed with.
So, while Easter may have just passed I promise you that you won’t regret spending an hour grating 3 cups of carrots and making this cake. The best part? It has vegetables! It’s practically a health food.
*I halved the below recipe and created a 4 layer 6″ cake as it was being served at a small dinner party of 5. As written it will make 24 cupcakes or one two-layer cake.
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups canola oil
4 large eggs
3 cups grated peeled carrots
1 cups coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)
Two (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
Unsweetened, shredded coconut for garnish
Chocolate eggs, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter two 9-inch-diameter cake pans instead of cupcake molds. Line bottom of pans with parchment paper. Butter and flour paper; tap out excess flour.
Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in medium bowl to blend. Whisk sugar and oil in large bowl until well blended. Whisk in eggs 1 at a time. Add flour mixture and stir until blended. Stir in carrots, walnuts and raisins, if using them.
Divide the batter between the prepared pans, and bake the layers for about 40 minutes each, or until a tester inserted into center comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans 15 minutes. Turn out onto racks. Peel off paper; cool cakes completely.
For icing, in a stand mixer beat all the ingredients on medium until fluffy.
To assemble your layer cake, frost the top of one cake, place the other cake on top. Frost the sides and top with a thin layer of frosting, your ‘crumb layer’ and refrigerate for 5 minutes. Frost your cake with a second layer of icing, press shredded coconut into frosting and garnish with chocolate eggs.