Carrot, celery, rhubarb cake

I had some family over for a late lunch and I was left with a half-eaten veggie tray. Looking at the pile of baby carrots, I thought, “I should make carrot cake.” But I only had 1-1/2 cups of carrots, so I started looking around to see what else I could use. I had some celery and a friend had dropped off a bunch of fresh rhubarb, so I thought, “why the hell not?” I am a firm believer in the idea that most genius happens from the need to improvise and make-do. I also believe that if you slather a baked good with enough cream cheese frosting, you cannot go wrong. This was by far my favorite let’s make do recipe to date. So moist, delicious, with a slight rhubarb zing. What does Emeril say? Bam?! Well, Bam and hot damn!

Ingredients:

For the cake batter

  • 2 cups all purpose four
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp allspice
  • ½ tsp fine salt
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs room temperature
  • 1-3/4 cups light brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups finely grated carrots
  • ¾ cup finely grated celery
  • ¾ cup rhubarb
  • ¾ cup jumbo raisins
  • ¾ cup finely diced blanched almonds

For the cream cheese

  • 1 (8 ounce) package brick style cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Instructions

To make the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350’. Spray two 9-inch round cake pans well with non stick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and salt until well combined. Set aside.
  3. In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs, brown sugar, granulated sugar, applesauce, and vanilla until fully combined. Add the carrots, celery, and rhubarb and mix until well combined.
  4. Combine the wet ingredients and the dry ingredients and mix with a whisk and rubber spatula until just combined. Fold in the raisins and almonds.
  5. Pour the batter evenly between both prepared cake pans. Bake at 350’ for 40 minutes or until the tops of the cakes are set and a fork inserted in the center of each one comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool for 30 minutes.

To make the frosting:

  1. Use a hand mixer to beat the butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Blend well using a spatula to scrape the sides and create an even consistency.

To assemble the cake:

  1. Level the top of each cake with a long bread knife. Frost bottom cake, then top cake. Top with extra almonds if desired. Enjoy!

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