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From the Kitchens of Pancho Villa has been awarded the honor of "WINNER" in the "Cookbooks: International" category of the 2014 International Book Awards!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Carrot Cake from Mexico

Living (and eating) in Mexico has opened my eyes (and mouth) to other types of cakes and desserts. I, for some reason, always thought cakes and desserts had to be chocolate … do you have a problem with that? Most Mexican cooks I know don't use chocolate for desserts because it is just too expensive. I have been introduced to wonderfully fresh tasting carrot cakes. There are probably as many recipes for carrot cake as there are cooks, so I picked one I really liked and my friend, Leti told me I could share it with you.

If you have the option of purchasing fresh pineapple, then please do. Canned pineapple is an ok substitute, but freshness is what home cooking is all about. Besides, a can of pineapple actually costs more than an entire fresh pineapple – see where this is going?

Also, a note on coconut. You are permitted to use dried coconut in place of fresh BUT use unsweetened only. Do not buy that bag of sugary coconut on the baking aisle and expect it to give you a delicious flavor in your cake. If you cannot buy unsweetened, then leave it out.

On to the recipe:

2 cups granulated sugar
1¼ cups vegetable oil
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups (packed tightly) grated carrots (about 1 lb / 454 grams)
1 cup shredded coconut, dried or fresh, unsweetened
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1 cup diced fresh pineapple, make sure to catch the juice to include

Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F). Lightly grease 2 8-inch round cake pans or one 9x13 inch.

Beat the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla until light yellow in color.

In another bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Add this to the sugar mixture. Mix in the remaining ingredients and stir until completely combined.

Pour the batter into your prepared pan(s). Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cakes cool completely in the pan(s) on a wire rack.


Of course no carrot cake is finished without some cream cheese frosting. You can use your favorite recipe or try ours. Remember that the weather here is hot and humid – topics you know – so no butter is used in this recipe or it would melt off the cake.

190 grams (6½ oz) cream cheese, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice (or use lemon if you like)

Beat the cream cheese until fluffy. Slowly add the lime juice and powdered sugar. While adding the powdered sugar, keep the mixer on LOW or you will be wearing that powder! Continue to beat until it is completely smooth and the consistency you want. Sometimes it is necessary to add a bit more powdered sugar, if so, no problem, add a couple of tablespoons at a time.

You can easily double this recipe if you want more frosting.

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