Monday, May 19

Good Eating Monday: Light Carrot Cake & Mascarpone Cream Cheese Frosting

Greetings!  Today we met a couple single Air Force guys from a neighboring Air Force base at a restaurant about halfway between us for lunch. They're in charge of a singles Bible study at their base that we've been helping them with long-distance and they had particular questions they wanted to talk over with us. It was a nice lunch, though long. It was 4 p.m. before I got back to the house.
Today's Good Eating recipe is for the delicious light carrot cake I made for hubby's birthday! 
Included is the Mascarpone cream cheese frosting I used and notations of optional things I added to the cake, like oatmeal and raisins.
I frosted this cake because it was for a birthday, but it would be excellent served plain, without frosting, as a coffee cake maybe with just a light coating of cinnamon & sugar on top before baking.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar 
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
2 cups grated carrots
1 1/2 cups crushed pineapple, drained. (that's one 20oz can)
2 large eggs, beaten
3 Tablespoons oil
1/2 cup sweet flaked coconut
1/3 cup chopped pecans
Optional: 1/3 cup dark raisins
                1/3 cup Quaker oats (the cake is more then moist enough to accommodate this minor addition.)

Spray a 13 x 9 inch pan with a oil cooking spray.

In a large bowl: combine oil and eggs, then stir in sugar, drained pineapple, carrots, coconut. 

In a flour sifter: combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon & allspice and sift into bowl gradually, stirring it in with each addition until all the flour mixture has been added. Then stir in nuts as well as oats & raisins if you're using them.

Pour cake mix into a greased 13 x 9 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until a wooden toothpick stuck in center comes out clean. 

Note on sugar & oil options:
I prefer using Sugar in the Raw, which is unprocessed sugar cane for baking. Oddly, it's less sweet then white sugar. Also, for the oil, I'd use coconut oil next time, instead of olive, but any oil you have on hand would be fine. It's just 3 Tbsp.

How I did the carrots:
 I bought a bag matchstick carrots and ran them through my small food chopper a little at a time till finely grated and discovered that 1 whole bag of matchstick carrots makes 2 cups worth of grated carrots.

Mascarpone Cream Cheese Frosting:
This recipe makes a soft, spreadable frosting, a little less sweet then the average cream cheese type and a bit healthier with the protein of the Mascarpone cheese.
It does make enough frosting for a 2-layer cake!
For a 13x9 cake I highly recommend cutting the recipe amounts in half.
I frosted a whole box of grahams with what I had leftover and I still have leftover icing!

4 oz (or 1/2 package) of lite cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup Mascarpone cheese
1/2 cups (1 stick) of unsalted butter or lite butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla 
1 box confectioners sugar
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

In a medium bowl put your cream cheese, mascarpone & butter and let soften for awhile. Once softened, add vanilla and beat with electric beater until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in nutmeg and confectioner's sugar. *Frost your cooled cake. 
(*Because this is a dairy based frosting, you'll want to keep the cake refrigerated until serving. Of course, it will be fine out for serving for a couple hours, but do store it again in the frig once you're done with it--if you have any leftovers!)
I'd make the cake again. It's easy and not excessively sweet, even with this frosting, though I'd skip the frosting next time.
And, since I did have leftover, it got more and more flavorful every day until we finally ate it up!
Eat up, me hearties, yo-ho!
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