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Carrot Cream Cheese Pound Cake with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting

  I caved on this one, not gonna lie.  I was so brave about zucchini last time round, and those pancakes really were amazing, but...pound cake.  Zucchinis...and pound cake.  That's a whole other beast to tackle. (P.S. If you're totally lost, this is a Sundays with Joy recipe, and this week's assignment was Zucchini Cream Cheese Pound Cake.  Join the group to be in the know!)

  Now, to be fair, I would have tried it if I'd had zucchini on hand.  Last year we were up to our eyeballs in it, but this year we got next to nothing from our poor, dry garden.  What I did have on hand was a crisper full of carrots.  So, following the theme of my fall cravings, here we are!

  So, you ask, where are we exactly?  We're at a place of sheer bliss, that's what.  Let me tell you about this cake, and see if you don't run to your kitchen immediately after.

  Picture a smooth, velvety batter, with the fat content split between melted butter and softened cream cheese.  You've incorporated your dry ingredients, complete with healthy doses of nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger.  As you fold in the shredded carrot, you find yourself running your finger along the side of the bowl.  Once you reach your fifth or so finger full, you pull yourself together long enough to spoon the batter into their respective pans and shove it into the oven, cringing as you set the timer to what seems an eternity.

  This is the patience period.  Bake, cool, frost.  No big!  You can do it!

  Once you've generously slathered your loaves in a deep, rich brown sugar cream cheese frosting/glaze, the time has come.

  One forkful into this baby, and I promise you that you'll be just as smitten as I am.

Carrot Cream Cheese Pound Cake with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting
Yield: makes two 9x5 inch loaves, or one Bundt cake

Ingredients for the cake:
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups granluated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 cups grated carrot

Ingredients for the frosting:**
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/6 cup (just fill a 1/3 cup halfway) brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • Scant 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Teaspoonfuls of milk, if needed 
 ** If you're making this as a Bundt, double the frosting if you wish to completely cover the entire Bundt cake in it. 

To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour two 9x5 inch loaf pans, or one 12-cup Bundt pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.  Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until well incorporated, about 2 minutes.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition.  Beat in the vanilla.  With the mixer on low speed, pour in the melted butter; once incorporated, increase to medium-high and beat until the batter is velvety smooth, about 3 minutes.  Reduce speed to low and add the flour mixture all at once.  Beat just until incorporated, with a few dry streaks remaining throughout.  Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a spatula to fold in the grated carrot and mix in the dry streaks.  The batter will be quite thick, and not very pourable.

Spoon batter into prepared pan(s).  Bake for 40-50 minutes, rotating halfway through baking time, until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the pan(s) for 20 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.

When completely cooled, make the frosting.  Place cream cheese in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat for about 1 minute to ensure that it is soft and pliable.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the butter.  Beat the butter and cream cheese on medium speed for 1 minute, until thoroughly combined.  Add brown sugar, molasses, and cinnamon and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds.  Turn the mixer on low and add the salt, powdered sugar, and vanilla.  Beat until almost incorporated.  Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.  Beat on medium speed until mixture is velvety soft, and the powdered sugar has completely disappeared.  If desired, add teaspoonfuls of milk to reach your desired texture of frosting/glaze (I added about 2 teaspoons to make it more drizzle-y).

Frost the cake(s) as desired.  Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Sources: adapted from Joy the Baker's Cookbook