My mom, a.k.a. Grandma Cookie, is the best cook! I'm sure I learned my love for cooking from her. She always made the best meals for us growing up which is no small task since I have 8 siblings! I remember her always bringing in the best homemade goodies to elementary school. I still have former classmates that talk about how they remember her delicious treats too. When Mom and Dad got married in 1970 they received a cookbook from my great grandma that had this recipe for carrot cake in it. It is one of Mom's specialties and truly a family favorite.
Grandma Cookie's Carrot Cake
2 C. flour
2 C. sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 Cups oil (Canola, vegetable, etc)
*you could substitute apple sauce for 1/2 of the oil for healthier version 3/4 C oil 3/4 C apple sauce
3-4 C. grated carrots
1 tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven to 350. Sift the flour, sugar, baking soda and powder, and cinnamon into a mixing bowl. Add the oil and eggs. Mix until incorporated. Fold in the grated carrots. Grease 2- 9" or 10" pans (could use one 13"x9" as well). Cut out parchment paper to cover the bottom of the pan and line the bottom with parchment then grease again. Sprinkle a little flour in the pan and shake pan to cover with flour. Divide the batter between pans. Bake for approximately 35 minutes when using 2 round pans, additional time may be necessary for using 13x9" pan.
Cream cheese frosting
8 oz. cream cheese (at room temp.)
1/2 C. butter (at room temp.)
1 lb. powdered sugar
1 C. chopped nuts (optional)
1 tsp. vanilla
Blend cream cheese with butter until smooth. Add vanilla and powdered sugar. Fold in nuts if using.
Wait until the cake is completely cooled and then frost. I added coconut (toasted is even better) on the top of this cake. I also filled it with a coconut cake filling that I got from Martha Stewart (my evil twin). I made 1/2 of the recipe and it was a lot.
I like to use my good vanilla in my frostings/fillings. Because when you bake with vanilla it usually cooks off, I use my cheaper vanilla when I bake. See this article about vanilla from Cooks Illustrated. My preference is vanilla bean paste. Usually I use Nielsen-Massey brand but my dear friend, Pam, sent me some from New Zealand where she lives. Thanks Pam!