Carrot Cake: Flour Bakery v. Pioneer Woman

Easter was this past weekend and I was assigned two tasks: baking the ham and bringing dessert.  Now, I read about how to bake the ham, what I should use to make my glazes, and then the drool starts collecting and I need to focus on something else…  Like baking a carrot cake!  I’ve never tried this type of cake before but after I spotted a carrot shaped carrot cake in a catalog and just knew that I needed to make one this year.  So I looked through my cookbooks and settled on a recipe from the Flour Bakery cookbook.  A couple of days later I was putting together my grocery list and ran across a carrot cake recipe on The Pioneer Woman (PW)…and knew I needed to try both recipes “just to see” which one is better.  Now I will freely admit that I have a tendency to replace veggie oil and canola oil with olive oil.  Not extra virgin, mind you, but still olive oil.  I like to think I’m making my baked goods a little bit healthier.

Flour Carrot Cake Batter
Flour Carrot Cake Batter

Now, before I give my verdict I will admit that there were a few small changes.  No cloves for the Flour cake.  And no frosting.  That didn’t stop the beau from eating it in servings…  For the PW cake, there were no nuts in the frosting.  And I used my own cream cheese frosting creation ( two sticks of butter, 16 oz cream cheese, half a pound of powdered sugar and a splash of almond extract).  The PW cake was also baked for 45-50 minutes because I put it into a smaller pan (think typical brownie pan) instead of the half sheet.  It turned out a beautiful golden brown whereas the Flour cake was dark like a banana bread.  Maybe even darker.  I pulled it out ten minutes early.  I got lucky because I had been checking the  PW cake for done-ness.  I should have known that the Flour cake would be ready early because they always seem to have extra long baking times…fair warning to those new to their cookbooks.

I was trying both recipes because I love their foods.  PW’s scones are amazing.  As are many of her other recipes.  Flour.  Well, its probably a good thing I don’t live in Boston because otherwise this is one of many places you would find me at least once a week.  No doubt I would be stocking up for the next couple of days.  That being said, Flour wins this round.  It had a cake which was dense with carrot and spiced to remind you that winter is still there in the background this time of year.  PW’s cake is a nice light cake but it seemed a little dry and needed the cream cheese frosting for its moisture.  Please note that PW’s cake was significantly better cold, aka straight out of the fridge.  I also only got a bite of the Flour cake.  But since my beau ate that cake in two servings and had no interest in PW leftovers (very, very unusual), the Flour cake wins.  I have plans to bake it very soon.  I shopped at BJ’s for all the ingredients I don’t normally have on had so I have far more carrots, raisins and cream cheese than I know what to do with.  There could be worse things…

Disclaimer:  The links attached above are for reader ease of use and reference.  I personally chose to make each cake because I enjoy the results I get from each ‘location’.  I bought the Flour cookbook myself.  PW’s recipes are available on her website for free.

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