When I moved to North America, it was to go to a boarding school to complete high school. My roommate’s mother made us mouth-watering cakes on each of our visits to her home. I fell in love with her carrot cake and still have that index card with the recipe on it, in my teenage handwriting. I have made slight modifications to the recipe like substituting yogurt for some of the oil and using light cream cheese and more icing sugar in the frosting.
I also make the cake in 2 eight inch round pans instead of 3 because I only own 2 round pans! I use a third pan – a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan. We eat the loaf cake as soon as it gets out of the oven, or I ice it for a quick family dinner dessert. The cake is so good that my kids would think I was cruel if I made a big round cake for someone else and didn’t make something for them!
The original recipe calls for 1 ½ cups of oil but I use about 1 cup of oil and a ½ cup of yogurt. I find that the cake is lighter tasting and tastes healthier.
The icing recipe calls for 8 oz of cream cheese. I use light cream cheese which means you may have to use more icing sugar to harden the icing. I also add some water to make it easier to whip. You can add chopped walnuts to the icing, but I don’t. I use walnuts to decorate the top of the cake.
Finally, my daughter asked me to make her a lemon cake for her birthday this year and I could not find a recipe that I thought would be moist enough. I scoured the Internet and eventually found some lemon carrot cake recipes. I was inspired by the recipes and ended up simplifying things by just adding lemon zest to the batter and lemon zest and a teaspoon of lemon juice to the icing. I did not want to mess with the tried and true carrot cake recipe that I had been using! The cake was delicious.
One friend I consulted cleverly suggested I put lemon drop candies on the cake to show that it was lemon-tasting. I have done that as well as used some orange and green sprinkles to suggest carrots as well.
So, that’s the history of this mixed-up lemon carrot cake. Thanks, Mrs. P, and thanks, Melissa. Let me know what you all think if you try this. Of course, if you want just a plain carrot cake, just omit the lemon zest…
Now, that’s sweet!!
Lemon Carrot Cake Recipe
2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
¼ teaspoon Salt
1 cup Canola Oil
½ cup yogurt (anywhere from 1-3.25%)
2 cups sugar
2 cups grated raw carrots
Zest of one to two lemons
Mix eggs, oil, yogurt, and sugar well.
Add dry ingredients and mix until incorporated fully.
Add carrots and mix until blended.
Pour into 3 greased and floured 8 inch round pans.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool completely before frosting.
Cream Cheese Icing
½ cup butter, softened to room temperature
8 oz light cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons water
4 cups icing sugar
Zest of one to two lemons
Beat butter and cream cheese and lemon zest until fully blended. Add 3 cups icing sugar as well as the vanilla and water while beating. Add the remaining 1 cup of icing sugar. Frost cake and refrigerate until firm. You can decorate the cake with lemon slices cut into quarters.