Our Favorite Carrot Cake

This is our absolute favorite recipe for carrot cake for several reasons. First, because we've cut back on the sugar a bit and replaced some of the fat with unsweetened applesauce and reduced-fat sour cream, we feel just a teeny bit less guilty when we eat it. We've also added extra spices and vanilla along with spiced rum-soaked raisins - another favorite of ours. You can easily replace the rum with water, but if, like us, you like idea of spiked raisins, give them a try in your next batch of oatmeal cookies or stirred into some rice pudding.

Our Favorite Carrot Cake
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  • Ingredients:
  • 1 lb carrots, peeled
  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (reduced fat is okay)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 can (8-ounce) crushed pineapple in juice, drained thoroughly
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • Spiced rum (optional)
  • For the cream cheese frosting:
  • 1 8-ounce package reduced fat cream cheese, softened
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/3 cups confectioners' sugar

Preparation:
Preheat the oven to 350°F and position a rack in the center of the oven. Generously butter a standard-sized bundt pan, flour lightly and set aside.

Shred the carrots using the shredding disk on a food processor or the large holes on a box grater. Set aside. Place the raisins in a glass measure, cover with spiced rum, microwave for 1 minute on 50% and allow to soak until ready to add to the batter. Drain well before using. Note: If you don't want to use rum, soak your raisins in the juice from the pineapple, or plain water.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and allspice together in a large bowl and set aside.

Lightly beat the eggs with a fork in a separate bowl. Add the sugar, brown sugar, applesauce, sour cream, vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and continue beating until well blended. Using a spatula, stir in the shredded carrots, rum-soaked raisins and pineapple. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes, then invert onto a rack to cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla extract together with an electric mixer on medium-high. Gradually add in the confectioners' sugar and continue beating until smooth and creamy. Spread the frosting on the cake, chill until set, then cover and keep refrigerated.

Makes 12 to 16 servings

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