One of my favourite little pleasures in life is moist carrot cake with real cream cheese icing. Living in residence in my first year of university, my floormates and I used to scrape off the inferior icing on the cafeteria's carrot cake, stir in cream cheese from the bagel bar, then put it back on the cake. The following year, living in student housing with three other girls, I discovered my housemate's terrific carrot cake recipe. The addition of grated zucchini in her version keeps the cake nice and moist. When I decided to make one recently for my Dad's birthday (the apple doesn't fall far from the tree; we both love it), I decided to step it up a bit. I combined my housemate's recipe with my Mom's recipe for rum-glazed carrots, which we usually have during the holidays, and added a few extra spices. The outcome was exquisite.
To make cake:
Peel 1 cup carrots and cut into pieces of roughly equal size, about 3". Place carrots in a small saucepan with 1T margarine and 3 oz rum. Add enough water to just cover carrots. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and continue boiling until water has evaporated and carrots are nice and glazed. Mash carrots.
In a mixing bowl, beat 2 eggs and 1 cup sugar until foamy. Gradually beat in 2/3 cup oil. In a separate bowl, sift 1-1/4 cups flour, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp nutmeg, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda, and 1/2 tsp salt. Gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Stir in 1 cup grated zucchini and mashed carrots. Bake in a greased 9x13 pan at 350 for about an hour (I had doubled this recipe and it took an hour and 20 minutes in my oven)
To make icing:
Beat together 1 3-oz package softened cream cheese, 2 cups icing sugar, 3T margarine, and beans scraped from one vanilla pod. Taste. Taste again to be sure. Say to hell with it, get a spoon and enjoy some straight from the bowl.
Once cooled, spread whatever icing is left over onto cake and serve with a cinnamon stick for garnish.