While the American South may be acclaimed masters of all things meat, there’s no excuse for passing on the produce. From picnic sides and pickles to fresh garden salads, soups and desserts, the fruit and vegetable bounty of the South is beautifully represented in The Southern Vegetable Book, a new collection from author, writer and TV personality Rebecca Lang.
Pineapple and freshly grated carrot sing of spring sweetness. Nothing is sacrificed in this lightened-up cream cheese frosting; it’s just as decadent as you always remembered.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 3 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
- 1 1/2 (8-ounce) cans crushed pineapple in juice, drained
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs
- 3 large egg whites
- 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- 4 1/2 cups grated carrots
- vegetable cooking spray
- 1 (8-ounce) package 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 6 cups powdered sugar
- 2 to 4 teaspoons fat-free milk (optional)
For the batter
Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture. Whisk together pineapple and next 4 ingredients; add pineapple mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Fold in carrots. Pour batter into 2 greased (with cooking spray) and floured (8-inch) round cake pans.
Bake at 350°F for 22 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on a wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pans to a wire rack; cool completely (about 1 hour).
For the frosting
Beat first 3 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar to butter mixture; beat at low speed just until blended. (Do not overbeat.) If desired, beat in up to 4 teaspoons milk to desired consistency. Place 1 cake layer on a serving plate; spread with 2⁄3 cup frosting, and top with remaining cake layer. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake.