Carrot and Pineapple Cake with Ellen Hawley

It’s a new year. You’re a new you. But are you so pure you’d pass up a carrot and pineapple cake recipe if it has cream cheese frosting that isn’t so smothered in sugar that it’s stopped tasting like cream cheese? C’mon. A treat once in a while makes purity manageable.

2 c. sugar
1 1/3 c. vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 ½ c. plus 1 Tbsp. flour (divided)
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking soda
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 c. raisins
1 lb. carrots, grated
½ c. pineapple, drained
(1 c. walnuts, opt.)
Heat oven to 350 F.

Beat the sugar, oil, and eggs. Add the vanilla. Sift in the 2 ½ cups of flour and the rest of the dry ingredients. (You’re supposed to do this in a separate bowl, but I’m a lazy cook and my way works just fine.) Stir (don’t beat) until mixed. In a separate bowl (and you really do need one this time), toss the raisins, and the walnuts if you’re using them, with 1 Tbsp. of flour. This will keep them from sinking to the bottom of the cake—don’t ask me why, but it works. Stir into the batter. Then stir in the carrots and pineapple. Grease two round pans and divide evenly between them. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, till a toothpick comes out clean.

Compared to most cream cheese frostings, this one is barely sweetened, so it still taste like cream cheese. The amount of sugar is flexible.

¾ lb. (12 oz.) cream cheese, at room temperature
½ lb. butter, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 to ½ c. confectioner’s sugar

Sift sugar. Add remaining ingredients. Beat until well mixed. Sift in more sugar to taste and mix till light.