As I mentioned earlier, Shane and I are in the midst of our frugal January, trying to stick to a grocery budget of three dollars per person per day.  I’ve embraced the challenge, but have been unwilling to give up certain ‘necessities’, such as dessert.  As I perused my most economical options for sweets on Friday night, I decided that carrot cake seemed to fit the bill as 1) cheap, and 2) still slightly decadent, when topped with fatty cream cheese frosting.  I pulled from couple of different recipes to come up with a cake that contained mostly ingredients that we already had on-hand, and it turned out quite well:

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting (makes 8 servings):

2 eggs
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup grated carrots
1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/4 cup softened butter
4 ounces softened cream cheese
1 2/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
extra pecans, to sprinkle on top

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease an 11×7 or 8×8 baking dish.  In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, white sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmet and cinnamon. Stir in carrots. Fold in pecans. Pour into prepared pan.  Bake in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.  Set the cake aside to cool.

To Make Frosting: In a medium bowl, combine butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Frost the cooled cake and sprinkle with pecan pieces.

Cut a slice and serve with hot chamomile tea.  Consume while watching football on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

I was happy with how this one turned out, considering it was my first attempt at a carrot cake – moist, cinnamon-y, and dang, I love a good creamy frosting.  I have already made two cakes in three days to share with friends and neighbors and will be adding this to my go-to dessert list.  The best part?  The only ingredients I had to buy were a couple of carrots, costing 60 cents, and a small package of cream cheese, which I got on sale for an even dollar.  Now that is a sweet deal (pardon corny pun)…