April 3, 2010

upstaged

What would Easter be without carrot cake?

Corner porn.
A bit of a disappointment, that's what.

No bones about it, I love carrot cake. In the past, the cream cheese frosting typically applied has been the major draw for me, but I've recently come to appreciate the cake itself for its intricate and amazing flavors and textures. I've tried many versions, some basic and others complicated, and the recipe I had come to love the most was a happy medium involving carrots (duh), pineapple, coconut, and walnuts.

Yep, I wrote that last sentence in the past tense. It seems I have a new favorite, and I have Jaime of Good Eats and Sweet Treats to thank for it. I'd had her recipe for carrot cake bookmarked since she posted it over a year ago, but I procrastinated making it because cream of coconut isn't something I keep stocked in my pantry. When Jaime challenged me to compare my go-to recipe with hers, I had no choice but to give it a try.


Feeling inspired and on a mission, I purchased some cream of coconut and set to work. Now, I'm sorry, Jaime, but I didn't follow your recipe exactly. I used my recipe but with the addition of the cream of coconut in lieu of some of the oil. Baby steps, right? I also changed up the frosting, eschewing the cream cheese (contain the violent outbursts, please) for a buttercream-of-coconut-type concoction.

Can you say 'winner by a landslide'? How about 'no competition'? The cream of coconut did something magical to the cake, making it all the more moist and decadent. What's more, my frosting was amazing, if I do say so myself--light yet creamy and with just the perfect amount of coconut flavor.

Yes, somewhere along the way, this cake stopped being about the carrots and became focused on the coconut. I have no regrets.

Carrot Coconut Cake
(thanks be to Jaime)

Cake:
1 3/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup cream of coconut
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
1 (8 oz) can crushed pineapple, undrained
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 cups shredded carrots
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup walnuts, chopped


Frosting:
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup cream of coconut
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon coconut extract
4 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour two 5x9-inch loaf pans. (Yeah, I made two loaves, but feel free to do the traditional layer cake if that's what you're craving!)
In a large bowl, beat together the sugar, oil, and cream of coconut. Add the eggs one at a time and mix well. Beat in the extracts and pineapple.
In a smaller bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Add to the wet ingredients and beat just until moistened and smooth. Stir in the carrots, coconut, and walnuts. Divide evenly among the pans and bake for about 40-50 minutes (less for round pans), or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, beat together the butter, cream of coconut, salt, and coconut extract until well-blended. Slowly beat in the powdered sugar until smooth.


Hoppy Easter!

76 comments:

shaz said...

Happy Easter Grace! And coconnut or carrot, who cares, that cake looks absolutely delectable. Mmmmm...to creamy coconut frosting.

Penny said...

Happy Easter Grace, I just stuffed myself with carrot cake last night. A neighbor sent two healthy slices over to welcome us back to Lake Lure. Your rendition looks to die for. I will have to get some cream of coconut.

Lucie said...

Never would have thought of cream of coconut in a carrot cake but now it makes so much sense! I can smell the cake from here...mmm! Happy Easter!

Sinful Southern Sweets said...

I can only imagine how wonderful that cream of coconut must make that already fabulous carrot cake.
Happy Easter!

Lindsey @ pickyeatings said...

It's funny, when I think of Easter, all I can think of is candy. I don't think my mom would usually make carrot cake for Easter, and if she did, all I cared about was eating the frosting, and just the frosting.

Happy Easter!

H said...

I must try this! I can honestly say I prefer the sounds of your version better due to the lesser oil content and sugar. I will most likely use melted extra virgin coconut oil in place of a vegetable oil. It'll add great healthy fat and more coconut flavor! I have some brazil nuts that need to be used. I will toast and chop them into bite size and add them for my nuts which if you have never used in baked goods you have to try it!
Thanks for the recipe.

Amy said...

Wow! Sounds amazing. I love cream of coconut, and I've used it in cakes before, though never a carrot cake. I imagine the frosting with cream of coconut was to die for!

Bellini Valli said...

Hope you are having a fantastic Easter weekend. Carrot cakes hould be added to my list of things to make this weekend.

Lynda said...

The cream of coconut sounds like a delicious addition to the cake, plus it certainly looks moist...sounds like a big winner to me!
Have a wonderful Easter week end Grace.

Cookie baker Lynn said...

It's great when you can replace a favorite with an even more favorite. This cake sounds like a keeper.

Happy Easter!

Amy @ cookbookmaniac said...

I have always loved carrot cake but I have never made my own. I am bookmarking this one. Thanks!

dawn said...

gracie i love you. you are a true coconut lover. you've managed to put coconut in every nook and cranny and i LOVE that.

Faith said...

The cream of coconut sounds amazing in this cake! I've recently developed a carrot cake that I'm happy with, but I think I need to make this cake! Sounds fabulous, Grace!

Cara said...

I can see how the cream of coconut would do wonderful things, but no cream cheese frosting?! blasphemy! I hope there's still room on your table for both versions :)

foodhoe said...

oooh, I love your adventurous spirit! I totally want to try the coconut buttercream frosting too.

Foodycat said...

I'm on a mission to outdo my husband's late aunt's "best carrot cake ever" - I will have to throw this one into the ring!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

I'm drooling! That sounds and looks fantastic!

Cheers,

Rosa

Lori said...

As much as I like carrot cake I would have to say yay! to the coconut. I bet this is super delicious. Now I will be bookmarking it.

Barbara said...

Sounds good, Grace. Coconut creme would be an exceptional addition to just about anything. I add it to all sorts of things!

I went with carrot cupcakes this year for some odd reason. Saw them on Inn Cuisine and thought they looked good.

Happy Easter, Grace!

lisa said...

The cream of coconut sounds like an amazing addition. I love carrot cake -- I''ll have to give this version a try. Happy Easter!

Lisa said...

Sounds fabulous! I like the flavor of coconut but not the stringy texture. Adding Cream of Coconut sound like the perfect fix for that problem. I might leave out the flaked coconut here but otherwise this sounds heavenly, even with my coconut issues. What a great Easter treat!

Marjie said...

Oooohhh...carrot cake! Too bad I didn't make one!

Chef Aimee said...

Happy Easter! May your holiday be as sweet as this carrot cake! It has me drooling, especially the addition of cream of coconut and pineapple! MMM!

tamilyn said...

Your pics are fabulous!

Melanie said...

Cream of coconut? Really? It sounds fascinating...and I'm bookmarking. For next year.

Chanel11 said...

A woman after my own heart - coconut makes everything better :)

Pam said...

Oh, I bet cream of coconut would make a lot of things amazing! Happy Easter!

WizzyTheStick said...

Coconut cream is magical as is carrot cake. A match made in heaven I say.

Joanne said...

A day without coconut is like a night without stars. Seriously.

I am so going to have to try this version. The last one I made was good. But not mind-blowing.

Trissa said...

My oh my, the addition of coconut cream will truly make a difference. I will definitely use THIS recipe next time I make a carrot cake.

Hungry Dog said...

I love carrot cake. My husband loves coconut cake. This is a match made in heaven!

Rebeca @All Vegged Out said...

That looks and sounds fabulous!

Do you think coconut butter would work in this?

Lisa said...

Oh, I so want a piece! I walked almost 6 miles....maybe one slice wont hurt?

Lisa

Erica said...

carrot and coconut!!! What a wonderful combination. Happy Easter!

muffinsareuglycupcakes said...

carrot cakes are really festive cakes!
i mean, it can't go wrong for easter.. christmas and so many more!
with that twist of coconut, mmm definitely worth a go!

M D said...

I am in for sweet spice cakes and love carrot cakes! The frosting surely attracts me back to this recipe. Have never tried Cream of coconut and would surely love to attempt it sometime.

p said...

I am not too much in carrot cake but I should make another try !! your phot is anyway very tempting !! Cheers
Pierre de Paris

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Hmmm well that is quite the endorsement then! If that's your favourite Carrot cake then I've got to try it! :D

Kristen Doyle said...

That cake looks so moist and delicious! What a testimonial... may have to try this one very soon!

megan said...

I love carrot cake. i almost made it for easter, but decided on something else at the last minute. i kind of wish I'd made the carrot cake.

kat said...

I'm not sure I've ever seen cream of coconut in the store, is it different than coconut milk?

Pam said...

I love carrot cake!! I've never used cream of coconut before. The frosting sounds FANTASTIC!

lisa said...

This is very intriguing! I love pineapple, walnuts, and coconut in carrot cake, and this is a very interesting twist. Must try!

Maria said...

Hope you had a happy Easter. I haven't made a carrot cake in a long time. Time for me to get busy!

Ingrid said...

LOL, thanks be to Jaime! :)

Hope you had a wonderful Easter! (with that cake I'm certain it was atleast delicious!)
~ingrid

Bridgett said...

Wow, the coconut must have really kicked this one up. Hope you had a great easter.

giz said...

Happy Easter!! (past tense) Have I even heard of cream of coconut? Now you've got me interested and I'm putting it on my grocery list. I thought I already had the world's best recipe but I'll just have to try this.

Baking Monster said...

I love carrot cake and I love coconut I will have to make this! I can always count on you to make tasty moist treats. Happy Easter week.

The Blonde Duck said...

I hope you had a lovely Easter!

LaChelle @ SugarDuchess said...

Oh carrot cake, how I love thee...

Good grief. This looks amazing. I love that close-up shot of carrot-cakey goodness.

Juliana said...

Grace, your carrot cake looks delicious, moist and rich, like the idea of adding coconut to it...yummie! Great pictures!

Mimi said...

Yum! Looks good to me.
Mimi

kellypea said...

It sounds like that coconut cream would make a difference -- I do love me some coconut! Just make a carrot cake myself, but not for Easter. We were slackers this year, but I posted it to show some spirit. Hope you had a lovely holiday!

Carolyn Jung said...

You made two loaves? Did you save one for me? Oh, pretty please?? ;)

sweetlife said...

cream of coconut in carrot cake...oh woow what a great add...sounds divine!!

sweetlife

LilSis said...

I'm not even a "sweet-eater", but this looks so moist and delish!! I love the coconut in it. I think I'm going to have to give your recipe a try and I'll probably want to eat the whole entire cake!

Maris said...

I didn't have carrot cake on Easter and am suddenly feeling very deprived! Sounds and looks delicious!

ovenhaven said...

This may sound weird, but in all of my 26 years, I've never eaten a fully-frosted carrot cake before! Coz the frosting's usually cream cheese, and I don't eat that. But this, my dear friend, THIS i gotta try! Cream of coconut sounds delish!

cookies and cups said...

I have made this 2 times and it is my favorite...like you I thought I had the best...but this one is my favorite! I love it...It's also hilarious how the cake cake is SO heavy--literally, like 25 lbs ! LOL!
so good, though :)

Albany Jane said...

Coconut.

Carrots.

Coconut.

Carrots.

...

Oh my gosh. Sounds like a great combo. I love carrot cake. I love coconut. So yum.

It looks super moist, too. I love it when the icing sticks like crazy to the cake, and sometimes bits come up.

5 Star Foodie said...

This carrot cake sounds super delicious! Hope you had a wonderful Easter celebration!

Robin Sue said...

The frosting on this cake is the winner in my book. Wow cream of coconut in frosting who would have thunk it! Great recipe.

Haddock said...

Carrot and cake?
Must try this.

Nutmeg Nanny said...

Wow what an awesome cake...can you please send me a slice :)

msmeanie said...

Wow, that does sound amazing. Coconut sounds like a great addition to a traditional carrot cake. Yum.

Hornsfan said...

This sounds completely amazing...I'm feeling a little upstaged too, I just posted my carrot cake recipe :)

Kathleen said...

This carrot cake sounds delicious beyond belief!

Paula said...

I think I heard angels singing when I saw your post. Then, when I read it, I could hear the harps, too! Cream of Coconut ... works for me! Buttercream of coconut type of frosting? Works for me! Lord, does this ever sound good. Two big thumbs up from me. YUM!

Amanda said...

Great pic!! I LOVE carrot cake and cream cheese frosting. Your looks divine!

Chef Fresco said...

Man your pictures are just so tempting Grace! I like how you used the coconut milk in the cake - yumm!

iamronel said...

watta great recipe..thanks a lot :O)

kimberleyblue said...

That frosting does sound good - though I could never forsake my loved cream cheese frosting on carrot cake! Maybe a combination of the two?

Debbie Bello said...

I am always looking for great new carrot cake recipes,,one of my favorites..I cannot wait to try it for myself.

culinography said...

Cream of coconut, eh? Color me intrigued. I'll keep my comments to myself about the lack of cream cheese frosting. ;)

Danielle said...

Now im intrigued..I mean no cream cheese icing?! but the coconut flavor sounds wonderful. Tell me....did you feel like you were cheating on your icing by using another? you know...that feeling of infidelity?

Jess said...

I love your blog! I just found it today and I decided about thirty seconds after finding this recipe that I had to try it!
I made it and posted with a link back to your blog, thanks for sharing!! My family enjoyed it!!
Jess : )
http://livininthekitchen.wordpress.com/2011/02/22/carrot-cake-and-weird-pairs/