Not every president will be an Abraham Lincoln. Not every Hitchcock film will be a Rear Window. And not every episode of Game of Thrones will be “Red Wedding.”
And not every Martha Stewart cake will be a ten-plus, off the charts, mind-scrambler. Witness Martha’s Carrot Tea Cake, made last weekend, and taken to work to celebrate the big solar eclipse this past Monday.
This cake Michael dubbed, simply, a “get you there” cake. “It’ll just get me there,” he announced as he pressed the tines of his fork against the last of his crumbs.
What exactly is a “get you there” cake? Well, it’s a cake that’s solid, and tasty. There’s no question it’s a winner. But the praise has to end there. In the universe of cakes, it doesn’t stand up and shine like a solar eclipse.
But if you need something to throw you into second gear during a drab day, this cake can definitely get you there.
If you take a look at the ingredients (list below), you’ll see this Carrot Tea Cake isn’t pretending to be something it’s not. There’s no white sugar, and only a half cup of brown. Only one stick of butter, two lonely little eggs, and just over a single cup of flour.
The cake makes up some of the taste it misses via the cream cheese frosting. Dare I say, nothing bad has every come from the combination of eight ounces of cream cheese and an entire cup of powdered sugar.
So yes, it’s a solid cake. But I can’t say more than that, or I’d be a liar. Are your least favorite neighbors coming for coffee? Is you grandma looking for “a little something sweet to nibble on”? Is there an open space at the end of your Christmas buffet table keeping you from feeling good about your hosting skills?
The search is over. Carrot Tea Cake is the cake that’ll get you there.
Carrot Tea Cake Cake from Martha Stewart
- 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
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.
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.
Make frosting: Using mixer, beat cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla until fluffy. Frost top of cooled cake.