I’m leaving you with one more dessert before the new year starts. If you have time to fit in one last unhealthy recipe before you start those new year’s resolutions, this one should be it. I’m not kidding. I think this might be the best cake I’ve ever eaten, and I don’t even like carrot cake!

One of Mike’s coworkers asked me to make a carrot cake for her husband’s birthday last week. I agreed, but since I’d never made a carrot cake before, I turned to my mom for a recipe. And she sent me the recipe for a cake so moist and tender and delicious that I may never make another carrot cake recipe ever. It’s that good. How can you go wrong with a remarkably good carrot cake topped with a buttermilk glaze and cream cheese frosting? Simple answer – you can’t.
Just a tip: when making a cake for someone else, it’s best to practice the recipe at least once to make sure everything will go as planned.

This cake was good enough that, rather than let it go to waste, I still served this mangled piece to Mike’s parents and sister, who loved it. After working out the kinks, however, I ended up with a cake that looked almost as good as it tasted. Mike rated it a 4.5, and he doesn’t usually like carrot cake either. If that still doesn’t convince you, I served the other half of the practice cake (unmangled, still in its pan) to my sunday school class, and heard at least one person say “This is the best carrot cake I’ve ever tasted.” Try it – you won’t regret it (unless you’re trying to start a diet, in which case you might).

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Blue Ribbon Carrot Cake

Ingredients:

Cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
2 cups grated carrots
3 1/2 ounces shredded coconut (I somehow managed to estimate this out to be about 14 Tbsp ~3/4 cup?)
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Buttermilk Glaze:
1 c sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 c buttermilk
1/4 lb butter or margarine
1 Tbsp corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/4 lb butter or margarine, softened
1 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese
1 t vanilla extract
2 c powdered sugar
1 tsp orange juice
1 tsp orange zest

Directions:

For the cake: sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In a separate bowl combine the eggs, oil, buttermilk, sugar and vanilla. Mix well. Add the flour mixture, drained pineapple, carrots, coconut and walnuts. Stir well. Pour into 2 greased and floured 9'' cake pans (or 1 9x13'' pan). If you are using the round cake pans, it's best to line the bottom with a circle of greased and floured parchment paper to help get the cake out of the pan. Bake for 45-55 minutes at 350, or until top of cake springs back when touched.

While cake is baking, prepare buttermilk glaze. In a small saucepan combine sugar, baking soda, buttermilk, butter and corn syrup. Bring to a boil. Cook 5 min, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

For 9'' round cake pans:
Cool 10 minutes in pan, then invert onto 2 squares of waxed paper. Invert one of the cakes onto another sheet so that it is sitting right side up. (The glaze will make the cake stick to the waxed paper. This way, when you are ready to frost the cake, you can simply invert it onto your serving platter and peel off the waxed paper.) Slowly spoon the glaze over the warm cake so that it is absorbed into the cake. If you are using a 9x13 pan, you can leave the cake in the pan as you do this. Let cake cool completely.

Make the cream cheese frosting. Cream butter or margarine and cream cheese until fluffy. Add vanilla, powdered sugar, orange juice, and zest. Mix until smooth. Frost cake and refrigerate until frosting is set. Serve chilled. May be refrigerated several days.