Photo credit: Philip Webb, StockFood
You’re exhausted. (Family time can do that.)
So take it easy tonight. Maybe go the meatless Monday route with a big chef’s salad that uses up a few of those hard-boiled eggs, or do a platter of asparagus with some soft cheese and bread, and keep it simple.
Before you do any dinner prep, though, preheat the oven—right when you walk in the door from work—and start grating some of those spring carrots. There’s a reason we’re so into them this time of year; they’re sweet, with an addictive crunch, and the fresher they are, the better the resulting carrot cake will be.
As for that cream cheese frosting, do us all a favor and don’t go halfsies. Go full-fat. Whole hog. Because when cream cheese mingles with confectioners' sugar and a touch of vanilla, it is one of those magical substances that makes you marvel that you don’t eat it daily.
Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
From Everyday Food
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup packed grated carrots (from about 2 carrots)
1 bar (8 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 5-by-9-inch (6-cup) loaf pan. In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy; beat in eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in carrots. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture; beat just until combined. Transfer batter to prepared pan; bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool in pan 5 minutes. Turn cake out onto a wire rack, and let cool completely.
3. Make frosting: Using mixer, beat cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla until fluffy. Frost top of cooled cake.