Carrot Cake Loaf with Cream Cheese Frosting
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Cook time: 
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Serves: 2 loaves (one 9x5 & one 8x4)
 
This is my favorite recipe for carrot cake because it turns out ridiculously moist, soft, tender, and is full of cinnamon-and-spice-and-everything-nice, including an abundance of carrots and sweet, juicy raisins. The batter is extremely fast and easy to make by combining the first 11 ingredients together at once in a bowl and whisking. Carrot cake isn't carrot cake without cream cheese frosting and this one is tangy, thick, wonderful, and a must have. The recipe makes two loaves; but can be made as mini loaves, muffins, or a Bundt cake.
Ingredients
  • For the Cake
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch salt, optional (buttermilk is already a salted milk and I omitted adding salt)
  • 2¼ cups coarsely grated carrots, packed loosely
  • 1 cup raisins, optional but recommended
  • 1 cup diced nuts (such as walnuts, pecans), optional
  • For the Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened (I used Trader Joe's Whipped Light)
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter (half of one stick)
  • 1½ cups+ confectioners' sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. For the Cake - Preheat oven to 350F; spray loaf pans with floured cooking spray; set aside. I used one 9-by-5-inch loaf pan and one 8-by-4-inch loaf pan. Choose any combination of loaf pan sizes, tube or Bundt cake pans, or muffin pans.
  2. In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter, about 1 minute on high power. Add the oil, eggs, buttermilk, sugars, vanilla, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, and whisk vigorously until combined. Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, optional salt, and stir to incorporate; don't overmix. Stir in the carrots. Stir in the raisins and optional nuts. If using both raisins and nuts, use about ¾ cup of each rather than 1 cup each, or the batter may become overwhelmed with add-ins. Pour batter into prepared pans, making sure not to fill any pan more than halfway full because this batter rises considerably.
  3. Bake the two loaves (9x5 and 8x4) for 40 to 50 minutes, or until top is set in the center, golden, and a toothpick comes out clean. Baking times will vary greatly by pan sizes used. I baked the 8-by-4-inch loaf for 42 minutes and the 9-by-5-inch loaf for 50 minutes. Muffins or mini loaves could bake in as short as 20 minutes, a big Bundt cake may need 55 to 65 minutes. Allow cake to cool in pans for about 10 minutes before removing and transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling. While cakes cool, make the frosting.
  4. For the Cream Cheese Frosting - To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add the cream cheese, butter, and beat to soften and combine, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and beat until light and fluffy. Add additional sugar as desired for thicker frosting. Spread frosting over the tops of the cooled loaves. Slice into ¾-inch wide slices and serve. I yield 9 to 10 slices from a 9x5 loaf.
  5. Some people prefer to refrigerate cream cheese frosting and if you're one of them, I suggest frosting the slices individually immediately prior to serving, rather than frost the whole loaf and then refrigerating it, which will dry it out.
  6. Store unfrosted loaf wrapped in plasticwrap and placed inside a large ziptop plastic bag for up to 1 week at room temperature, or freeze for up to 3 months. Freezing second loaf after it's cooled is recommended if you're not going to eat it within a week.
  7. Adapted from Carrot Pineapple Banana Bread with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting and Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bundt Cake
Recipe by Averie Cooks at https://www.averiecooks.com/carrot-cake-loaf-with-cream-cheese-frosting/