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#SundaySupper is celebrating Spring! For all of you who live where seasons exist, I bet you’re pretty happy about the recent changes in temperature as we approach this time of year. Our Spring Fling theme is full of recipes with the freshest of produce, the brightest of colors and flavors, and some of our favorite foods to enjoy during these warmer months. Thanks to our hosts DB (aka Foodie Stuntman) of Crazy Foodie Stunts and Valerie of Lifestyle Food Artistry.
I don’t think carrots are particularly a spring vegetable, but carrot cake is definitely a spring dessert! It’s everywhere as we approach Easter — M&M’s even made it their seasonal flavor! I had to incorporate something spring-ish into this recipe, though, so that’s where the lemon cream cheese icing comes in. Lemon is just a burst of sunshine in any dish, whether sweet or savory. I never used to care for it much, especially in desserts, but I’m slowly starting to appreciate it much more. A simple dusting of lemon zest or a drop of freshly-squeezed lemon juice can really brighten up a dish.
Cream cheese icing is a must for any carrot cake. It’s tangy and sweet and perfectly complements the cinnamon, nutmeg, pistachios and golden raisins nestled inside this moist and delicious carrot cake. And with that little extra zing from the lemon, it’s even better!
I’ve never made a carrot cake before — and I’ll be honest, I’ve never actually made my own cream cheese icing either. This was a first for me in many ways, and I’m so excited to share it with all of you for today’s #SundaySupper! There were a few hiccups along the way — one of the cake layers totally cracked when I flipped it out of the cake pan. But, I pretended it was like a puzzle — a cake puzzle, if you will — and put it back together again. I figured, it’s going to be covered in icing anyway… My cream cheese icing tastes delicious, but I forgot to sift the powdered sugar and I just could not get all of the lumps out!
But hey, we can’t all be perfect on our first try, right? It’s just an excuse to try again!
- For the lemon cream cheese icing:
- 2 8 oz. packages reduced fat cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into small pieces
- 1¼ cups powdered sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- pinch of salt
- For the carrot cake:
- 2¼ cups ap flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- ⅔ cup canola oil
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 lb carrots, peeled and grated
- 1 cup golden raisins
- 2 cups roasted pistachios, divided
- For the cream cheese icing:
- Beat cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer until smooth.
- Add butter, sugars, vanilla and salt and beat until airy.
- Add lemon zest and juice and continuing to beat until fully combined.
- Keep in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- For the carrot cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and arrange a rack in the middle.
- Coat two 8-inch cake pans with butter and flour (make sure to shake out the excess flour).
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl and set aside.
- Combine eggs, sugars, oil and vanilla in another bowl and mix well.
- Fold in the flour mixture with a rubber spatula until just combined.
- Fold in to the carrots, raisins and 1 cup of pistachios until fully incorporated.
- Divide the batter into the two cake pans and bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick entered into the center of the cakes comes out clean.
- Use a knife to release the cake from the pan and turn the cakes out to cool on a wire rack.
- Once the cakes are completely cooled, use a offset spatula to evenly spread icing on top of one layer of cake. Carefully place the second layer of cake on top.
- Spread more of the icing over top of the second layer and over the sides, completely covering the cake with icing. It's okay if it looks messy, this is the just first coat.
- Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes to make sure the frosting is set.
- While the cake is setting, use a food processor to crush up the remaining pistachios.
- Take the cake out of the refrigerator and spread the remaining icing over the top and sides of the cake.
- Press the crushed pistachios into the sides of the whole cake.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Let’s celebrate springtime! Flowers and sunshine and the warm breeze, and of course — food!
- Easter Egg Smoothie by Sew You Think You Can Cook
- Home-made Limoncello by Manu’s Menu
- Meyer Lemon Rosemary Martini by The Redhead Baker
- Asparagus and Roasted Garlic Hummus by Palatable Pastime
- Baked Lemon and Goat Cheese Dip by The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen
- Cauliflower Salad by Wallflour Girl
- Green Asparagus Soup with Seared Scallops by An Appealing Plan
- Panzanella Primavera by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Salmon Berry and Almond Salad with Lemon Honey Dressing by Family Foodie
- Skillet Spinach Artichoke Dip by Life Tastes Good
- Asparagus Gribiche by The Wimpy Vegetarian
- Early Peas with Pearl Onions in Cream by Lifestyle Food Artistry
- Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Mustard Vinaigrette by Food Done Light
- Sauteed Artichokes & Potatoes by Carrie’s Experimental Kitchen
- Spring Green Rice by Magnolia Days
- Artichoke Pesto Pasta by PancakeWarriors
- Crispy Honey Chicken Spring Salad by Rants From My Crazy Kitchen
- Early Spring Risotto by Cooking Chat
- Honey Lemon Shrimp by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Irish Lamb Stew by Food Lust People Love
- Perfect Scrambled Eggs with Asparagus, Goat Cheese and Chives by Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen
- Quiche Florentine by Curious Cuisiniere
- Roasted Lamb Chops, Fontina Cheese Polenta with Asparagus and Mushrooms by Crazy Foodie Stunts
- Root Vegetable Risotto by Momma’s Meals
- Spring Lemon Pasta by MealDiva
- Spring Pea & Chèvre Souffle by FoodieTots
- Spring Vegetable Risotto by A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Salmon and Strawberry Spinach Salad with a Kentucky Maple Vinaigrette by Dandelion Greens
- Tilapia with Classic Pesto by Whole Food | Real Families
- Veal Stew with Spring Greens by The Texan New Yorker
- Berry Shortcakes by That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Blueberry Coconut Macaroons by Pies and Plots
- Blueberry Rhubarb Muffins by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Carrot Cake Cookies by Noshing With The Nolands
- Carrot Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Icing by Take A Bite Out of Boca
- Gluten Free Healthy Hummingbird Cake by Cupcakes & Kale Chips
- Lemon Cream Pie with Girl Scouts Lemonade Cookie Crust by Our Good Life
- Lemon Meringue Pie by Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch
- Low-Fat Strawberry Muffins by Small Wallet, Big Appetite
- Matcha Strawberry Cake by Brunch with Joy
- Palm Sunday Easter Bread by Love and Confections
- Pretzels, Peanut Butter, and Beer Cake Recipe by Recipe for Perfection
- Sticky Carrot Squares by What Smells So Good?
- Three Berry Coconut Crispies by Simply Healthy Family
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