Playing With My Food ~
A journal about food, thought, travel, and life; by Chef & Raconteur Chaz French.

Brown Butter Carrot Spice Cake

Yeah that’s a mouthful, imagine if I had included “With Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Buttercream” but I’m saving that for a separate post because it’s so damn tasty it deserves its own damn write up!

So carrot cake, people either love it or hate it, I’m in love with it, but it has to be well made. I’d been looking for a good recipe and since a certain Canadian friend of mine has been putting off sharing the recipe for her chocolate carrot cake (which she’s to post here)… I decided I’d just go make my own damn recipe.

Carrot cake is another of those recipes where if you keep the basics you can play with the extras fairly freely. Most recipes call for using oil, and usually in obscene amounts. If I need to use 1 1/4 cups of fat, it’s got to be something tastier than a vegetable oil. So I thought about it, and remembered the Lusikkaleivat (Brown butter spoon cookies from Finland) that I made last Christmas and thought that Brown Butter would be the perfect flavor to go into a carrot spice cake.

And it was indeed.

Brown Butter Carrot Cake

2 1/2 sticks butter
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
12-14 ounces grated carrot

1) brown the butter. Using a heavy bottomed sauce pan melt the butter over high heat, then drop temp to medium when the butter starts to bubble. Continue cooking over medium heat and watch the foam turn to bubbles and keep stirring, use a spatula to stir that lets you scrape the bottom of the pan, when you see the milk solids turn brown and drop out of solution (you’ll see brown bits on the bottom of the pan) remove from heat immeditely, and pour the butter into a measuring cup (you really want it off the heat fast) scrape all the brown bits from the pan into the measuring cup as well and set aside to cool.

** Preheat Oven to 350F **
** Oil and flour a 9×13 cake pan **

3) scrub and grate the carrots. I did an easy cheat here, I weighed out a pound of carrots, unwashed, then proceeded to scrub them (no peeling), then using both the large and small holes of a box grater (more small than large) grate the carrots down as far as you can without scraping your hand. When you’re done you should have 12-14 ounces of carrots (1lb minus the tops you couldn’t grate).

4) 1 small mixing bowl, 1 large mixing bowl. In the small bowl whisk together the flour, salt, spices, and the baking powder & soda, set aside. In the large bowl beat the eggs, add the vanilla and almond, stir, add the sugars, stir, add the brown butter and beat to incorporate. This will end up looking like a golden brown whipped honey, and taste of heaven.

5) pour the flour mixture on top of the wet and use a spatula to mix into a batter, as soon as the flour is incorporated, stop mixing. Fold in the carrots, spread into cake pan, and bake for 40-50 minutes until set in the center (clean toothpick test).

When done place pan on a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before attempting to frost.

A word of advice, if you’re one of those people who double the spices called for in a recipe, DON’T, I already have!

Next up: Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Buttercream!