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Light Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients

  • 1 pound carrots (about 6 medium), peeled and grated (about 3 cups)
  • Vegetable oil spray
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

Directions

  1. Grate carrots using the large holes of a box grater or the large-holed shredding disk of a food processor. Set grated carrots aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and adjust rack to middle position.
  3. Lightly coat a 13 x 9-inch metal baking pan with vegetable spray (for best results do not use a glass or Pyrex pan). Line bottom of sprayed baking pan with parchment paper; set aside.
  4. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt together in a medium bowl.
  5. In another medium bowl, beat the eggs and sugars together with an electric mixer at medium speed, until they turn thick and creamy, 1 to 3 minutes.
  6. Reduce the speed to low and slowly whip in the oil until thoroughly combined and emulsified, 30 to 60 seconds.
  7. Sift half the flour mixture over the batter and gently mix in. Repeat with remaining flour mixture and continue to whisk the batter gently until most of the lumps are gone (do not overmix).
  8. Using a rubber spatula, gently stir in the carrots.
  9. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth the top.
  10. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs, 35 to 40 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking (do not overbake).
  11. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack and remove the parchment paper.
  12. Flip the cake right-side up, and cool completely on wire rack, about 2 hours, before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces Neufchatel (1/3 less fat) cream cheese, (no substitutions) softened but still cool
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar

Directions

  1. Mix the cream cheese and vanilla together in a large bowl with a rubber spatula. Do not use an electric mixer or food processor. It will overwork the mixture into a soupy mess.
  2. Add the confectioners sugar and stir until thoroughly combined and smooth.
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