If I were to name one cake that epitomizes southern desserts my pick would be carrot cake. Chess pie could be said to hold the spot for the pie category, and peach cobbler for something in between the two.
You may consider a different cake to fit the textbook definition of southern, but for me carrot cake was always a family favorite. Throughout my life (and throughout most celebratory tables) a carrot cake was alway present.
Such an old recipe has a debatable origin. It is not debated that it origins began it another country and eventually grew and changed in the States. Traditionally the sponge includes shredded carrots and nuts and smeared with a creamed cheese icing.
With such a traditional cake, it is hard to find a unique or delicious variation on the classic version. I find keeping the modification simple will result in the best results. An easy variation on the tradition is the use of honey to sweeten the cake. Of course, I prefer local honey since Savannah has such good procurers like Capital Bee Company.
To push the variation a bit more, I added orange zest and a bit of orange juice to the cream cheese icing. The citrus brightens up the soulful cake.
- 1 Cup of Honey
- Grated Carrots
- 1 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
- 1 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
- 3 Eggs
- 2 1/2 Cups of AP Flour
- Zest and Juice from One Orange
- 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
- 1 Stick of Butter, melted
- 2 Tablespoons of Vanilla
- 3 Cups of Grated Carrots
- 1 Cup of Chopped Walnuts, toasted
- 1/4 Teaspoon of Nutmeg
- 1/2 Teaspoon of Ground Ginger
- 2 Teaspoons of Cinnamon
- For the icing:
- 15 Ounces Cream Cheese
- 4 Cups of Powdered Sugar
- Zest From One Orange
- 1 Tablespoon of Fresh Orange Juice
- Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Grease and flour two eight inch cake pans. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, sift together all of the dry ingredients. Set aside.
- In the mixing bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. Make sure the honey is fully combined.
- Gently, a portion at a time, whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
- After the batter is fully combined and smooth, fold in the carrots and walnuts.
- Divide the batter evenly among the cake pans.
- Bake on the middle rack until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Approximately 40 minutes.
- Meanwhile make the frosting.
- In a stand mixer beat together the cream cheese and sugar, adding the sugar a little at a time.
- Finish by mixing in the zest and orange juice.
- Allow the cakes to cool fully before icing the cake with the frosting.
- Garnish with sliced oranges if preferred.