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Carrot Cake with Brown Butter Icing

In my efforts to eradicate the scourge of carrots in the fridge (see carrot bread), I made some cake. Carrot cake obviously. This is great cake, but I have to admit, the real star here is the icing. This cake was made on the best of days, the day a new edition of Fine Cooking Magazine landed in my mailbox. This icing, a brown butter cream cheese icing, is on the cover of the current edition and really, it’s incredible.

Please don’t lick your computer screen. That’s kind of gross.

Just get yourself into the kitchen and make it.

I will include the cake recipe and ingredients below, but to be totally honest, it looks almost exactly like the making of the aformentioned carrot bread. So let’s just focus on the icing for now.

Brown the butter.

Now, this is the first time I’ve ever browned butter. But it really couldn’t be easier. Take a heavy saucepan, melt the butter and let it keep cooking. Swirl it occaisionally and just like magic, it will turn a lovely nutty brown.

Meanwhile, cream cheese and brown sugar.

Once the butter is a nice brown, pour into a container you’re comfortable sticking in the freezer. Pyrex is nice.

Into the freezer!

The point here isn’t to freeze it, but to firm it. You don’t want those solids at the bottom either.

I started to mix the cream cheese and brown sugar while I was waiting.

And got the powdered sugar ready.

By this time, the cake was done and cooling.

I baked this cake at night and so yes, my lighting is a little wonky, but this cake is exactly that rich an orange. This really isn’t an affect of terrible lighting. Make it and see.

So, the butter was in the freezer for about 16 minutes and firmed up. Scrape the good part out, leaving the brown solids.

I scraped a little too deep and got a bit of it. Oops.

Add the good part of the butter to the cream cheese and brown sugar mixture. Mix!

Gradually add the powdered sugar and beat until fluffy.

Frost the cake!

Every time I make icing from scratch, I’m more convinced that buying it is ridiculous. This recipe seals the deal.

Okay, so because this recipe is currently on news stands, I’m going to tell you to go buy it yourself. I have no idea what the ethical requirement is here (fellow bloggers please enlighten me!) but my love for Fine Cooking compels me to tell you to go and buy it for yourself. Please note: this is totally unsponsored. My subscription was a Christmas gift from my aunt. Thanks Helen!

The original recipe for the cake is from the September ’99 edition of Bon Appetit and can be found on Epicurious here.

The recipe for the icing is from the October/November 2010 edition of Fine Cooking and you should go buy it. Immediately.

Carrot Cake

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 heaping teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cup canola oil
4 eggs
4 cups shredded carrots

two large bowls
2 9” cake pans
food processor or shredded (to shred carrots)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Grease pans
3. Mix dry ingredients
4. Shred carrots
5. Mix sugar and oil until blended, gradually add eggs.
6. Combine wet and dry ingredients and mix lightly
7. Divide batter evenly between cake pans
8. Bake 40 minutes or until tester comes out clean
9. Cool on wire racks and frost when completely cool

Make It Yours: The allspice is a personal choice. It makes this cake a bit pumpkin pie-y. Even with no pumpkin. Or pie of any kind really. Also the quantity of cinnamon and the inclusion of nutmeg. Your call.