Carrot Cake made with browned butter....sounds good right? Actually, this cake is just referred to as Carrot Cake, but I think if your clever enough to tweak a recipe by using browned butter, then why not state that right in the title. Your letting everyone know, this is not any old Carrot Cake.....this is a Carrot Cake with Brown Butter.
As with most recipes, I am initially drawn in by the reputation of the website, chef or blogger, then I check out the ingredients (as you guessed, browned butter got me this time) and then by the pictures. I don't care if the pictures are stylized, I want to be able to look at the food and know if it were in front of me, I would want to eat it. I want to see the messy, real life look of food. Perfect food with all it's imperfections. I want my mouth to water and that's when I get excited.
Barbra Austin guest posting for David Lebovitz (with whom I am an avid follower) did this for me....... and again the browned butter.
Two things I want to mention in my manic haste to gather all the ingredients and assuming I had most of them. I had to make some substitutions. I ran out of carrots, approximately one cup, which I replaced with one cup of shredded sweet potato. I can't tell you whether this added to the recipe, it definitely added further moistness and which by the way, was absolutely delicious or if the recipe could have been that much better without it. I simply improvised because I ran out of carrots. I also forgot golden raisins, so had to make due with those scrawny, shriveled, malnutritioned raisins in a box. I did try to plump them up with a warm water bath, but again, highly recommend golden raisins (sultana's) as the original recipe requires.
I can't imagine a Carrot Cake tasting any better then this one. It is super moist, has a complex flavor that feels as if there were many more spices used and I think is a perfect Carrot Cake. Actually, one of the best I have ever tasted. Next time I would love to add toasted walnuts either in the batter or around the cake, but I think the principle of this cake was it's simplicity, relying on the taste of good ingredients and....the nuttiness of the brown butter!
Brown Butter Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes one 9 inch double layer cake or one 8 inch layer (you will have about a cup of batter left over)
NOTE* ( I shredded my carrots and sweet potato with a food processor)
4 large eggs, at room temperature
¼ cup vegetable oil
¾ cup melted brown butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon cinnamon
generous pinch each of nutmeg and cloves
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups loosely packed grated carrots
1 cup of loosely grated sweet potato
1/2 cup raisins, preferably golden raisins
For the frosting:
1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
4 oz unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups of powdered sugar, sifted (or more depending on the consistency you like)
a few drops of vanilla extract
1/4 cup of cream
Preheat the oven to 350°F
Butter and flour two 9-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper or do as I did and just spray with baking spray.
To make the cake layers, sift together the flour, sugar, spices, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. With a handheld mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the eggs until they are pale and frothy (they need not increase dramatically in volume). With the mixer running, drizzle in the oil and melted butter, then the vanilla.
Add the dry ingredients to the eggs and mix carefully until just combined. The paddle will accomplish this easily but if you only have a hand held mixer you may want to just do it by hand.
Using a food processor, I grated the carrots and sweet potato. Pulsing until I got a small, crumbly mixture. Fold shredded carrots along with the raisins into the batter, then divide the batter between the two pans. Bake 30-35 minutes, until the surface springs back when gently touched. Cover with aluminum foil and cool the cakes completely. Once cooled, run a knife around the edge of the cakes, turn over and tap to release, then frost.
To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Slowly add most of the powdered sugar and mix until light and silky, add the vanilla and cream and any additional powdered sugar until desired consistency.
Serving and Storage: This cake is best served at room temperature but will keep for a few days stored in the refrigerator.