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Before you get started – which frosting holds up best?

We’ve made lots of cakes and cupcakes this season, most of them with whipped cream frosting. Folks love it. It’s the best they’ve ever tasted. But It’s not as durable as some.

Whipped cream frosting is basically whipped cream with a stabilizer added. We add one to two tablespoons of meringue powder per cup of whipping cream. And we use the very best, heaviest whipping cream we can buy. In our area, that’s Darigold 40% Heavy Whipping Cream.

A frosted cake is the best the first day and acceptable the second day if the cake is covered and refrigerated. We don’t expect it to hold up beyond that; the frosting deflates.

Buttercream made with shortening will hold up the longest. But I don’t like eating shortening.

Buttercream made with butter tastes much better but most everyone will prefer the whipped cream frosting. Buttercream is more stable but it needs meringue powder or another stabilizer also. Depending on how much stabilizer you use and how warm it is, butter-based buttercream can last up three days.

You can add more meringue powder. In our cookie mixes, we add enough meringue powder to the frosting mix that the frosting will set up firm. We do that so that you can stack, pack, or ship your cookies without a total mess.

Royal icing, the icing used to make hard floral arrangements on wedding cakes—that has a ton of meringue powder.

Use a mix to make carrot cake or carrot cake cupcakes five ways.

Start out with a cream cake mix. Add grated carrots, cinnamon, and nuts and you have a traditional carrot cake. Add cinnamon chips, coconut, candied ginger, or pineapple to make scrumptious variations. Bake then as cupcakes or a sheet cake.

But the real killer is the frosting. Everyone likes cream cheese frosting but it’s dense and rich. Use the following whipped cream frosting and it’s light and dreamy. It’s the best frosting that you can put on a carrot cake.

While you can use most carrot cake recipes to make these variations, the original made with our Vanilla Bean Baby Cakes Mix is very good plus quick and easy.

large-carrotcake

The Original Carrot Cake Recipe

Vanilla Bean Baby Cake Mix
3/4 cup grated carrots
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 cup nuts

Frosting

1 four-ounce package of cream cheese (or 1/2 of an eight-ounce block), softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons meringue powder
1 cup heavy whipping cream

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Mix cake batter in your stand-type mixer, per package instructions.

Add the 3/4 cup grated carrots, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, and 3/4 cup nuts to the cake batter. Mix just until combined.

Spread the batter in a greased or parchment lined 9 x 13-inch cake pan and bake for 23 minutes at 325 degrees or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Allow the cake to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes. Remove the cake (if you are using parchment paper) and transfer it to a wire cooling rack to finish cooling.

For the frosting:

Cream the granulated sugar with the cream cheese.  Add the other ingredients and beat until light and fluffy.

The Carrot Cake Variations

Use our mix or your favorite carrot cake recipe.  Follow the directions either in your recipe or above and make the changes outlined below.  (You may omit the nuts above but we like nuts in this cake.)

Pineapple Carrot Cake:  Drain a can of crushed pineapple, reserving the juice.  Replace the water in the directions with the juice.  Fold in 3/4 cup of well-drained pineapple.

Cinnamon Chip Carrot Cake.  Make the cake exactly as above but add one cup cinnamon chips.  Reduce the cinnamon to one teaspoon.

Candied Ginger Carrot Cake.  Make the carrot cake exactly as above but add 3/4 cup small candied ginger pieces.

Coconut Carrot Cake. Make the cake exactly as above but add 3/4 cup of shredded or flaked coconut. Pack the coconut in the measure.

Add one to two teaspoons of coconut flavor, to taste, to the frosting.

Of course, you can make other variations.  Don’t overlook the ginger pieces; they are scrumptious in a carrot cake.  Try combining ginger pieces with the pineapple.  You can also add cinnamon chips to either of the other two variations.