Carrot Cake with Amarula Cream Frosting
Gotta love the South where someone invites you to their birthday party in an old cotton gin. While Demián entertained guests with his margaritas, I discovered some delicious carrot cake that the birthday girl had made for her vegan guests. It was so yummy, I stole the remainder and hid it in a dark corner to take home with me later. I was shocked to learn it was vegan. I don't believe in cooking with fake butter so I figured if the recipe was this good without it, imagine how much better it would be with the real deal. I took her recipe as a base and tweaked away using real dairy products. The tofu frosting was much better with real cream cheese and South African Amarula cream liqueur, which was awarded Liqueur of the Year at the NY International Spirits Competition. The vegan recipe inspired our now house favorite very non-vegan carrot cake.
3 cups grated baby carrots
2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups organic sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
1 1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract*
WARNING! If you are like me and love to lick the cream cheese frosting off the beaters, double this frosting recipe so there's plenty leftover to indulge in.
8 ounces neufchatel cream cheese
½ cup salted butter
1 cup organic sugar, blended in blender to powder (add up to 1 more cup sugar if you prefer sweeter)
1 tablespoon Amarula cream liqueur
1/2 cup pecan pieces, garnish
Combine cream cheese and butter, beating until smooth. Add powdered sugar and Amarula. Beat until fluffy. Save pecans for sprinkling on top later.
Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour three 9-inch cake pans and set aside. Combine first 8 ingredients. In separate bowl, combine eggs, oil, and vanilla. Stir wet into dry. Pour batter evenly into the three cake cans. Bake 30 minutes or until toothpick test comes out clean. Remove cakes from pans and cool on wire racks. When completely cool, frost in between layers and top with Amarula cream cheese. Garnish top of cake with pecans.
*We use our housemade extract that's simply a bottle of 100 proof bourbon stuffed full of vanilla beans.