It is true that I have too many favorite kinds of cake to ever pick just one, but carrot cake is most definitely on my list of top 10 favorites, and yes somewhere near the top of the list. The spices, the sweetness and moisture from the carrots, its pleasant texture, the aroma… it’s all just perfect. I’ve made carrot cake more times than I could ever be able to count. When I was little I wasn’t fond of carrot cake. Quite possibly it could have something to do with its name and the fact it contained a vegetable in it and also it may have been from tasting the wrong carrot cakes, but once you’ve had a really good carrot cake, you will be hooked. For life. And you will never look back, and why should you? My problem with carrot cake is always knowing when and how to stop. It’s just too good!
I decided to add a ritzy twist to these carrot cake bars, simply because browned butter is basically my absolute favorite thing in the world =). If it didn’t have so many calories I could literally sit down and eat it by the spoonful and spread it over nearly every and any meal. Mmmm yes these are the things I refer to as the finer things in life. Not designer shoes, expensive and ridiculously fast cars or lavish parties, but browned butter and carrot cake. All it takes is good food to keep me happy =).
If you’d like to add the carrot hearts on top of the bars, add them just before serving as they will begin to break down and become watery if the rest on top of the frosting too long. For the carrot heart how-to you can check out this link at Sophistimom. Enjoy!
Carrot Cake Bars with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup applesauce (or an additional 1/3 cup vegetable oil)
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups finely grated carrots
Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1/2 cup salted butter
- 6 oz cream cheese
- 2 1/2 - 3 cups powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg for 30 seconds, set aside. In a separate mixing bowl, using a wooden spoon, blend together brown sugar, granulated sugar, vegetable oil and applesauce until smooth. Add in eggs and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Pour in half of the dry ingredients and mix just until combined, then add remaining dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Fold in grated carrots. Pour into a buttered 13 by 9-inch baking dish and spread into an even layer. Bake in preheated oven 30 - 32 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before frosting with Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting. Cut into bars and store in an airtight container.
For the Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting:
Brown butter in a small saucepan over medium heat (for how to brown butter see link here. Be sure to brown it long enough to get the good brown butter flavor). Remove from heat and pour into a heatproof airtight container, cover with lid and chill in refrigerator until butter has cooled (if it's too cold when you go to prepare the frosting you will have to let it rest at room temperature for several minutes until soft enough to blend. The butter should be soft like room temperature butter). Scoop butter into a mixing bowl, using an electric hand mixer whip butter and cream cheese until smooth and fluffy. Add 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar and mix until well combined, Mix in an additional 1/2 cup powdered sugar to thicken if desired.
Recipe Source: Cooking Classy