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Carrot cake is traditionally topped with a cream cheese frosting. There are several variations of this common carrot cake frosting, including options which contain nuts, yogurt and lemon essence. In addition to the traditional recipe, carrot cake frosting can also be made using ingredients suitable for diabetic cooking, such as low-fat cream cheese and unsweetened fruit juice. Other flavor options for carrot cake frosting include white chocolate, maple syrup and pineapple.
Traditional-style carrot cake frosting is made using cream cheese. Softened cream cheese is mixed with butter, confectioners sugar and vanilla. The mixture is beat until smooth, then spread over a cooled carrot cake. This standard frosting can be smoothed on or decoratively applied to a cooled carrot cake. The cake can be sprinkled with finely chopped nuts, if desired.
There are subtle variations to the standard cream cheese frosting recipe. Lemon essence instead of vanilla can be used to flavor traditional cream cheese-style carrot cake frosting. Cream cheese can also be combined with confectioners sugar, vanilla extract and low-fat, plain yogurt. Using yogurt in this frosting requires the cake to be refrigerated. Another flavoring option is almond extract in place of vanilla.
For a lighter version of traditional carrot cake frosting, a diabetic version of the frosting is available. Light cream cheese is used in place of regular cream cheese. The frosting also contains vanilla extract, pineapple juice concentrate, unsweetened, and orange peel that has been grated. The ingredients are whisked together until they are well-blended and smooth.
Carrot cakes can also be topped with white chocolate cream cheese butter cream frosting. The frosting combines melted white chocolate with cream cheese. Lemon juice and butter are beat into the mixture until fluffy. Orange cream cheese frosting is another carrot cake frosting option. It is made with cottage cheese, vanilla and light cream cheese. The mixture is combined with grated orange rind and sifted powdered sugar.
Creamy supreme frosting features cream cheese, coconut and chopped nuts. A variation of this cream cheese frosting recipe adds ground raisins into the mix. Carrot cake can also be topped with maple cream cheese frosting. This recipe adds ground cinnamon and pure maple syrup to a traditional cream cheese frosting recipe. Another option is to place fresh, finely chopped pineapple pieces on the frosting. After the cake is frosted, pineapple pieces are sprinkled on the top, then covered with another layer of frosting and topped with more pineapple pieces.
I love carrot cake and honestly -- if you're going to go to the trouble of making a carrot cake, who wants a low-sugar frosting? Like that's going to make any difference, as sweet as the carrot cake is, anyway.
Some cooks like to do a carrot cake in two layer pans, then fill and frost. In my opinion, that's too much work. I prefer using a standard tube pan (preferably a nonstick one with a removable bottom). I turn the cake out on to the bottom of my cake carrier, do a crumb coating with the frosting, let it chill, then frost the rest, just doing the top and sides. I then press chopped pecans into the frosting. It looks great and is not nearly as much work as dealing with a layer cake.