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Julie Andrews' Carrot Cake Recipe Genuinely Surprised Me

It has not just one, but two secret ingredients.

<p>Lauren Grant</p>

Lauren Grant

I grew up working at a restaurant known for its carrot cake—so I have opinions on the traditional dessert. I’m not necessarily a purist, I’ll eat carrot cakes with or without raisins, nuts, coconut, pineapple, you name it. But I do think a carrot cake should live up to its Morning Glory-esque density and texture.

Seeing as we loved Julie Andrews' go-to cocktail so much, we decided now that's it's officially carrot cake season, we should try out her recipe for the spring dessert too, and I was up for the task.

This cake is not going to win any beauty contests, but it will be a hit if you enjoy healthy desserts. The cake is naturally sweetened with honey (though I think the frosting could use some powdered sugar—more on that later) and is loaded with carrots and raisins. There are no eggs or dairy in the recipe so it’s great for someone who avoids both of those things. And finally, it’s very low in fat with only 2 tablespoons of added oil in the entire dessert.

Julie Andrews’ Carrot Cake Review

Julie Andrews carrot cake is a layered cake made of two thin and very spiced cakes. The dense cakes are loaded up with shredded carrots, raisins, a bit of cornmeal, and oddly enough, more than a cup of water and no eggs. Frankly, I was skeptical, but the baked cakes will come out more tender than you expect.

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While the cakes cool, the tofu-based frosting is whipped up. According to Andrews you can use a food processor, mixmaster, or stand mixer.

All in all, it’s a cake reminiscent of Morning Glory Muffins or Hummingbird Cake and leaves something to be desired if you like a thick, dense cake made with sickeningly sweet cream cheese frosting (just me?).

My Tips for Making Julie Andrews’ Carrot Cake

There are quite a few things I would change about this recipe to make it my own, but then it wouldn't be Julie Andrews’ cake, now would it? Here are a few tips I have from testing that will make the process easier and guarantee you success.

  • The original recipe from the USO of Pioneer Valley Celebrity Cookbook noted, after trying it with firm tofu, that the frosting would be better with silken tofu. I tested this with silken tofu and it’s simply not sturdy enough. I recommend using something in the middle, like medium-firm tofu. If the frosting is still too loose, whisk in a few spoonfuls of powdered sugar. The frosting can use the added sweetness and it will also thicken the frosting a bit. Or even better, add some cream cheese to the mix.

  • The original recipe calls for pastry flour. If you’re stocked up on all-purpose flour, use that. This cake is packed full of dense ingredients like cornmeal, carrots, and raisins, and the benefit of using pastry flour will simply be lost. Not worth an extra ingredient on your grocery list.

  • I found the spices to be really overpowering. If I were to make it again, I would pull back on the allspice and cloves.

  • The best and most efficient way to toast shredded coconut is to spread it into an even layer and toast it in a hot oven. I recommend doing this right after pulling the cakes out of the oven. Keep an eye on the coconut and stir it as needed. It can go from perfectly toasted to burnt quickly.

Julie Andrews’ Carrot Cake Recipe

Adapted from the USO of Pioneer Valley Celebrity Cookbook.

Ingredients:

Cake:

  • 1 ¾ cups pastry flour or all-purpose flour

  • 2 ¼ ounces corn meal (scant ½ cup)

  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon allspice

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • ½ teaspoon cloves

  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • 1 ¼ cups water

  • ½ cup honey

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 2 cups shredded carrots

  • 2 cups golden raisins

Frosting:

  • 1 lb. medium-firm tofu, drained

  • 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon honey

  • 1 teaspoon orange zest

  • ¼ teaspoon orange extract

  • ¼ cup shredded coconut, toasted (plus extra for topping cake)

  1. For the cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F with a rack set in the middle position. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, the spices, and salt.

  2. In a liquid measuring cup whisk together water, honey, vegetable oil, and vanilla; pour into flour mixture and stir until nearly combined. Add carrots and raisins and mix to combine.

  3. Grease two 9-inch round pans and line bottoms with parchment paper. Divide batter evenly between the pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean, about 25 minutes. While the cakes cool, make the frosting.

  4. For the frosting: combine tofu, honey, orange zest, orange extract, and toasted coconut to a food processor, stand mixer, or large bowl with hand mixer, and mix until smooth and creamy.

  5. Transfer one cake to a serving platter and spread half of frosting over top. Place the second cake on top and frost with the remaining frosting. Sprinkle the remaining toasted coconut on top.

Serves 8

Read the original article on All Recipes.