Friday, May 10, 2013

Carrot Pineapple Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

It's been a week of firsts: Anne's first time on a plane, first time attending a wedding (congrats, James and Julia!!), first visit to the farmers' market. Yesterday she turned six months old, and it was as if she thought, "I am six months old now, and it is high time I started sitting up unassisted like a big girl." You'd think I would get used to the overlapping and constant milestones, but I just can't seem to catch my breath! Every new thing she does is amazing.

Carrot Pineapple Half Birthday Cake! |

Last night, we had friends over for pizza and half-birthday cake. Sadly, the guest of honor is still working on her purees, and won't be eating any cake for another six months, but we thoroughly enjoyed celebrating on her behalf. (I have the burned finger and shattered pizza stone to prove it; did you know you're not supposed to put a pizza stone under the broiler?)

Carrot Pineapple Half Birthday Cake! |

I've started Weight Watchers again. Five years ago, I lost about 20 pounds on the program, and have since gained it all back (oh hey, baby weight). I thought that since I'm still nursing, and I've been working out with Jillian a few times a week (and trying to get to yoga once a week), that the weight would just continue to fall off. But I had reached a plateau, and I wanted to be more intentional. I share this here only because it's the only way I've ever been successful at losing weight, because I can enjoy the above-mentioned pizza, cake, and beer (oh, I didn't mention that?) without any adverse effects by balancing those choices throughout the day. It just helps to have a portion-control guide. Anyway, in case you're wondering, this cake is 15 points per slice, and I enjoyed every little bite.

Carrot Pineapple Half Birthday Cake! |

Carrot Pineapple Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

adapted from Great Cakes

This is a half-cake for a half-birthday. For a regular two-layer cake, double everything, and fill and frost as usual.

For the cake:

1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 cup finely chopped fresh pineapple (about 1/4 pineapple), or well-drained canned crushed pineapple
1.5 cups grated carrot (about 3 medium-large carrots)
1/2 cup vegetable oil

For the frosting:

1/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1.5 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pecan halves, for garnish (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter or coat liberally with coconut oil cooking spray one 9-inch round cake pan. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and spices in a bowl, and toss together. Set aside. Place the eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer, and using the whip attachment, beat on medium-high for about two minutes, until light yellow, thick, and smooth. Slowly add the sugar, beating for about 5-6 minutes until well blended and fluffy. Add vanilla and lemon zest, and stir. With the mixer running, slowly pour in the oil, and then beat for one minute.

With the mixer off, add the flour mixture all at once, and then mix on low just until incorporated, about 15 seconds. Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a spatula to fold in the carrots and pineapple. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake about 30-35 minutes, until the sides pull away from the pan and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool completely. Remove the cake from the pan and cut in right down the middle. Wrap the halves in plastic and place them in the freezer for at least an hour or two, or up to a few weeks (see Deb for awesome tips on fancy cakes). This step is optional, but since you are applying frosting to the inside of the cake (the cut side), freezing will help the frosting stay crumb-free. Make sure that you leave enough time for the frozen cake to come to room temperature before serving.

Make the frosting: In a medium bowl, combine the butter and cream cheese. Use a wooden spoon to cream until very smooth. Mix in the lemon zest. Add half the powdered sugar, then the sour cream, then the other half of the powdered sugar, stirring well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla.

Fill and frost the stacked halves just as you would a whole cake, and garnish with a half-circle of pecans; now you have an adorable half-cake!

Yield: 8 slices


  1. I love you, a half cake- so cute! That six months just flew by. I noticed that when my girls started learning to walk they both turned into calorie gobblers, so nursing really pays off. Something to look forward to! :)

    1. Thanks! I had this idea a long time ago; it was fun to finally do it. Time is FLYING!! :-)