This particular carrot cake was inspired by a few of things.
One, I had just posted a recipe for apricot glazed salmon, which left me craving more apricot. I ‘m pretty fond of apricot flavored anything.
Two, we had just returned from Kansas where we attended our beautiful niece’s wedding. And it’s hard to go back to Steve’s home town without conjuring up all kinds of memories of my late mother-in-law, Rita. See, Rita used to love a carrot cake with apricot filling that we discovered at Costco once when they visited us in Arizona years and years ago. I don’t think, at that time, that there was a Costco in their part of Kansas. Rita declared it amazing and insisted on buying one every time they came to visit. She just loved that cake.
And three, carrot cake screams Fall to me. Since that beautiful season is just around the corner, and I was feeling both nostalgic and craving more apricot, I decided to make a carrot cake with apricot filling.
Carrot cakes are uniquely delicious. But they can be a little rich when that heavy cream cheese frosting is used both to cover the cake and to fill the layers. The genius of using an apricot filling is that it adds a bit of acidic tang to counter some of that richness. It adds another layer of flavor as well, which to me, makes for an even better carrot cake. I know that’s why Rita loved that cake so much.
Let’s make a carrot cake with apricot filling
Most carrot cake recipes call for a cup of oil. If you have read any of my previous posts that discussed dessert recipes that call for oil, you know that I try, whenever possible, to substitute with sour cream. It is a “half-the-calories” kinda thing. And I think it makes for really moist desserts.
The frosting is pretty standard. I like to use the pecans to decorate the cake.
I made the frosting first and put it in the refrigerator to chill.
Then I prepped two 9-inch spring form pans.
I blended the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon with a whisk.
Next, I mixed the sour cream, sugars, and vanilla until well blended. Then added the eggs, one at a time.
Finally, I added 1/4 of the dry ingredients at a time until I had a smooth batter.
Once the batter was set, I used a spatula to fold in shredded carrots and stirred well to make sure everything was distributed. Then I split the batter evenly between the two spring form pans and baked them at 350° F for 25 minutes.
And got these two beauties. I let them cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then I removed them and let them cool completely, directly on the wire rack.
Once the cake layers were completely cool, I spread the apricot preserves on the bottom half, topped it with the other layer, and then frosted the two layers. I also used chopped pecans for decoration.
And ended up with this bit of deliciousness.
Now, I won’t claim to be the most artistic person out there when it comes to cake decorating. We all have our strengths, and cake decorating is not one of mine. I’ve learned to come to terms with that shortcoming because I learned it has absolutely no effect on the taste of my cakes. You pick your battles, right?
YUM! This is a lovely, lovely carrot cake, folks! And I was so bad! I never eat cake, but you know how I hate throwing good food away. And I didn’t want the piece I cut to get dry. Since there was no one else home to eat it after the pictures were taken, I had to fall on the sword.
Sometimes it tastes REALLY good to be bad.
If you’ve never tried a tangy layer of apricot as the filling for your carrot cakes, you really need to give it a shot. I think it takes carrot cakes to new heights. And substituting the oil with sour cream not only shaves some calories, but makes for a deliciously moist cake.
So, give it a try and let me know if you agree!
- FOR THE CAKE
- 2 cups flour, plus more for the pans
- 1 cup full fat sour cream
- 3 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups shredded carrots
- ½ cup apricot preserves
- Cooking spray for pans
- FOR THE FROSTING
- 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- ¼ cup sweet butter, room temperature
- 1½ cups powdered sugar
- 1 cup chopped pecans for decorating (optional)
- Pre-heat an oven to 350° F.
- Whisk the frosting ingredients with an electric mixer until thick and creamy, scraping the sides often. Set in the refrigerator to chill.
- Grease and flour two 9-inch spring form pans. Set aside.
- Combine the flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda in a bowl and whisk to blend. Set aside.
- Whisk together the sour cream, sugars, and vanilla extract until combined, then add the eggs one at a time. When well blended, add the dry ingredients a bit at a time, scraping the sides often. Continue mixing until a smooth batter forms. Then fold in the shredded carrots with a spatula until everything is well distributed.
- Pour the batter equally into the two prepared pans and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Allow the cakes to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then remove from the pans and allow the cakes to completely cool directly on the racks.
- Spread one cake with the apricot preserves, top with the second cake, then cover both with frosting.
- Decorate the cake with chopped pecans, if desired.