Thursday, February 23, 2012

Fat-Free Carrot Cake + Fat-Full Cream Cheese Frosting

When I was younger, my mom, sister, and I would always make carrot cake (from the box) for my birthday. I'm not sure why, since it's hardly my favorite (though I still love it) but it was just a tradition. But since boxed cake mixes contain preservatives and dehydrated carrots, it kind of nullifies the health benefits of carrot cake. It's so easy to make though, so no worries. Here's my recipe for carrot cake.

CAKE:
2 cups grated carrots
1-1/2 cup sugar
1 cup apple sauce (I like all-natural, unsweetened)
4 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

FROSTING:
1/2 an 8 oz package of cream cheese (1/2 cup)
1/2 an 8 oz. container of mascarpone cheese (1/2 cup)
1/2 stick of butter (1/4 cup)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup walnuts




Why apple sauce? Apple sauce is a great substitute for oil in cake mixes. You can even substitute the volume of oil needed in a boxed cake mix with apple sauce to cut the fat. It makes any cake really moist. When whisking in the dry ingredients, you want to be gentle to make sure the cake comes out nice and tender.

I used a 9" springform pan but you can make a sheet cake (bake for 30 minutes) or a bundt cake (45 minutes) or even cupcakes (bake for 20 minutes). Just use a toothpick to check the doneness - poke it in the center and if it comes out clean, it's ready.
Let the cake cool - I split mine into two pieces so I could make a layer cake.
To make the frosting, whip together powdered sugar with  room temperature butter, cream cheese, and mascarpone. Meanwhile, toast some walnuts.
Frost the cake. I like just a little frosting in the center so I used about 1/4 of the frosting for the middle layer and the rest for the outside.
Chop up the walnuts and press to the sides of the cake.

Enjoy.

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