In my humble opinion no Easter celebration is complete without a carrot cake. It being my very favorite cake, I’ve tried more than a few variations. Even still, my favorite recipe is my moms (you can call it bias, but I swear its superiority is the objective truth).
I’ve alluded to this cake many times on this blog, so this year I finally decided it was time to share the wealth. It’s a definite crowd pleaser, and the true magic of this cake is it freezes beautifully. I take the leftovers, freeze them by the slice, and pull them out for months (or, let’s be honest, weeks) afterwards whenever I’m craving something indulgent.
A little bit more about the cake: carrot cake recipes often call for raisins, the original version of this one included. I omit them from mine. I love the nutty and carrot-y flavors in the cake and I just think raisins distract from that.
One of the best parts of making a carrot cake is decorating the top. So much room for creativity! This year I went for a simple but elevated look, with some piped carrot tops and candy eggs. A little Peter Rabbit-esque. Fun!
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups grated carrots
1 cup pecans
8 oz softened butter
8 oz softened cream cheese
1 lb of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 cup sweetened coconut shavings
optional: cadbury eggs, orange food coloring, and carrot greens for garnish
preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
grease two 9-inch cake pans and line their bottoms with parchment paper.
in a large mixing bowl, combine the vegetable oil and sugar. in a separate bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
alternate between adding some of the dry ingredients and the eggs, one by one, to the sugar/oil bowl. mix after each addition. finally add the carrots and pecans, mix to evenly combine, and divide the batter evenly between the two cake pans.
bake in the oven for 70 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. let the cakes cool completely before removing them from their pans. trust me here.
in a new mixing bowl, cream the butter and cream cheese together. add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract, and beat till everything is well combined.
reserve 2-3 tablespoons of icing for piping the carrots (more if you want to do additional decorations). spread a thick layer of frosting between cake layers, then ice a crumb coat on the whole cake. place the cake back in the fridge for about 20 minutes so that the crumb coat can set.
use the rest of the icing to completely frost the cake. mix a few drops of orange food coloring with the 2-3 tablespoons of reserved frosting. use a piping bag with a large, round tip to pipe the carrot tops. gently insert carrot greens into each of the carrot tops. add the candy eggs in whatever arrangement you like.
take the oven temperature down to 300 F and spread some coconut on a baking sheet. toast the coconut until lightly browned, tossing every so often so the coconut toasts evenly. apply a layer of the toasted coconut to the sides of the cake.
cut & enjoy!