The natural moistness that carrots impart to this spiced cake have sent it soaring to the top of the Canadian hit parade list. This is a truly Canadian version, laced with maple syrup and encased in a decadent maple-butter cream.
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3/4 cup amber or dark maple syrup
1/2 cup milk
4 cups grated carrots
1-1/2 cups butter, softened
3/4 cup amber or dark maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
3 to 3-1/2 cups icing sugar
Step 1: Grease two 9" round cake pans; line the bottoms with parchment paper.
Step 2: In a large bowl, using a mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Gradually beat in the sugar; beat on medium until fluffy, 3 minutes. On low speed, beat in the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla. (The mixture may look curdled.)
Step 3: In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Step 4: On low speed, gradually add about 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Beat just until combined; add the maple syrup. Beat in half of the remaining flour mixture, followed by the milk, then end with the flour mixture. Sprinkle the carrots over the batter and fold in with a spatula.
Step 5: Divide the batter between the pans. Spread evenly to the sides of the pans. Tap the pans smartly on the counter 5-6 times to remove any air bubbles. Bake in the centre of a 350°F oven until a tester inserted into the centre comes out clean, the centre of the cake springs back when lightly touched and the cake comes away from the sides of the pans, about 40 minutes.
Step 6: Let cool in the pans on racks for 15 minutes; turn out onto racks to cool completely. (You can wrap the layers and leave at room temperature overnight. Or double wrap and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw before icing.)
Step 1: In a large bowl, using a mixer, beat the butter until creamy. On low speed, gradually beat in 1/4 cup of the maple syrup. Add the vanilla. Beating on low speed, add 1/2 cup of the icing sugar. Repeat, adding the maple syrup and icing sugar twice. Beat in enough of the remaining icing sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time, until the icing reaches spreading consistency. Stop and scrape down the beaters occasionally. If not firm enough to spread, refrigerate for a few minutes.
Step 2: To assemble, with a long serrated knife, slice the layers in half horizontally. Place the top of one layer, dome-side down, on a flat cake plate. Tuck 4 strips of waxed paper, like a frame, under and around the cake to keep the plate clean.
Step 3: Spread a generous 1/2 cup of the icing on the cut surface, leaving a narrow border of cake around the edge. Lay the bottom of the layer, cut-side down, on top. Ice in the same way, leaving a border. Add the bottom half of the second layer, cut-side down. Repeat spreading. Top with the final layer, cut-side down. Brush the side and top of the cake to remove any crumbs.
Step 4: Smoothly spread a thin layer of icing over the side of the cake, then the top. Chill for 30 minutes to set this masking layer. Spread the remaining icing over the cake. Refrigerate several hours or overnight before serving. (You can refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 days.)
See more recipes from Rose Murray and Elizabeth Baird.
Reprinted with permission from Rose Murray and Elizabeth Baird's Canada's Favourite Recipes (2012 Whitecap Books).