Carrot Cake with Date Sugar Frosting

Expert cooks always tell you to read a recipe first so you can understand what you’re in for and also so you’re sure you have all the equipment and ingredients you need.

It’s one of the rules of the road that I taught my kids and students in my cooking classes.

So I sure was surprised the other day when I was about to prepare a cream cheese frosting for a carrot cake I had baked and realized I didn’t have enough confectioners sugar.

How did I not have an extra box of confectioners sugar in the house?

Anyway, I didn’t.

So I went to my alternative rule: if you are missing something, equipment or ingredient, and you can make a reasonable substitute, go ahead and do it.

That is exactly what I did. I didn’t feel like going out to the store so I used what I had: date sugar and a little bitty amount of confectioners sugar.

Also, I only had whipped cream cheese, not the regular kind.

The result? A delicious, soft, beautifully caramel-colored frosting that was perfect for my carrot cake.

I will do this one again for my New Years Eve company.

Carrot Cake with Date Sugar Frosting

  • 2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1-/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1-3/4 cups applesauce
  • 3 cups of shredded raw carrots
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 1 cup shelled, soft nuts, optional
  • Date Sugar Frosting

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans. Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl. In another bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, vegetable oil and vanilla until thoroughly blended. Add the applesauce and carrots and mix the ingredients to distribute them evenly. Add the flour mixture and stir to combine ingredients completely. Fold in the raisins and nuts, if used. Spoon the batter evenly into the two pans. Bake for 30   minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then invert onto a cake rack to cool completely. Frost with Date Sugar Frosting.

Date Sugar Frosting

  • 10 ounces whipped cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/4 cup date sugar (or use maple sugar or brown sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • milk

Beat the cream cheese and butter together until they are well combined and uniform in color. Add the confectioners sugar, date sugar and lemon juice and beat the ingredients to blend them completely. Add as much milk as needed to make the frosting smooth and spreadable.

Makes enough for one 9-inch layer cake
Serves 12-16