How can I have cream cheese week without cream cheese frosting? Bradley’s dad did ask me that. I mean I could eat that stuff with a spoon – no carrot cake needed. But, I cheated. I followed up cream cheese week with carrot week, that way I could use this delicious recipe either week. I win.
I absolutely adore carrot cake. Especially old fashioned carrot cake. There’s a secret something they put in old recipes like this one that they don’t put modern cakes. I think the secret is the massive amount of oil that makes it just so tasty. I really couldn’t tell you exactly but I’ll go with two reasons why I love it. 1) It’s made with carrots, ergo, it’s healthy. And 2) cream cheese frosting. Need I say more?
When I was a kid, I chose every year for my birthday to have a funfetti cake with rainbow chip frosting. Do you remember that flavor? Yeah well a couple years ago they stopped making rainbow chip frosting. I was very sad, but decided it was probably time to move on from my childhood birthday requests to something a bit more … adult.
No one said I am going to give up flavor or my personal choice though. Nearly everyone else in my immediate family wants chocolate cake on their birthdays, I am more of a vanilla type of person. They always complain when it’s my turn. I have just decided that they don’t need to eat any then – all the more for me. I have decided my new go-to cake is this recipe.
This particular recipe, with some slight modifications, was made as a birthday cake for my sister Angela several years ago by a regular customer at the diner she worked at. An older lady named Jolene was so sweet in making all the girls many different types of birthday cakes from her vintage recipes. Thankfully when she made this one for Angela I happened to be at the diner eating breakfast.
My breakfast quickly involved a slice of carrot cake covered in smooth cream cheese frosting. I wanted to just eat the rest of the cake for breakfast. After that I begged Angela to get me the recipe from Jolene. It took months since she did not want to give it up, but she finally did!
So I made cupcakes with the batter, but then there was discussions among my siblings about who did and didn’t like raisins and walnuts in their carrot cake. I personally like all of them in my cake but I figured I would throw them a bone. I took the raisins and walnuts out and candied them making a crumble to go on top. I was thrilled because I get the same flavor I taste when the walnuts and raisins are mixed in, but you can leave off the topping if you aren’t a fan.
So consider this recipe for the next birthday you have. It’s valid replacement for rainbow chip frosting.
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 ½ cups canola oil
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
- 3 cups grated carrots
- 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- ½ cup butter, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 pound powdered sugar
- 3-4 teaspoons milk
- Make the candied walnuts and raisins by melting butter in a medium saucepan. Add raisins and walnuts and stir to coat in butter. Add the sugar, cinnamon and vanilla and cook 3 to 4 minutes stirring constantly.
- Remove from heat and spread out on a non-stick baking mat and let cool completely.
- For the cupcakes, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix sugar and oil thoroughly in a stand mixer, then blend in the eggs. In a separate bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Combine the dry and wet ingredients in the mixer. Fold in the carrots.
- Fill muffin tins lined with paper cups 2/3 of the way full, do not overfill. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- To make the cream cheese frosting, whisk the cream cheese, butter and vanilla. Add the sugar gradually, beating well. Add the milk until the consistency is good for spreading.