This carrot cake recipe is tender and moist, and the cream cheese frosting is tangy and rich. The carrot cake can be prepared one day ahead. Sweetened cream of coconut is available in the liquor section of most supermarkets.
Makes 8 to 10 servings
2-1/3 cups sifted all purpose flour (sifted, then measured)
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut, optional
1 cup whole pecans, roasted
1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger
3-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups granulated white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups finely grated peeled carrots
Two 8-ounce cans crushed pineapple in its own juice, well drained
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter three 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 2 inch high sides. Line bottom of pans with parchment paper. Combine 1/3 cup flour, coconut, pecans, and crystallized ginger in the processor. Process until nuts are finely chopped.
2. Sift 2 cups flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in medium bowl.
3. Using an electric mixer, beat sugar and oil in large bowl to blend. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well and scraping the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and the spice mixture. Stir in coconut-pecan mixture, carrots and crushed pineapple.
4. Divide batter among pans. Bake until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool the cake pans on a racks for 1 hour. Run knife around edge of pans to loosen cakes. Turn cakes out onto racks and cool completely.
Three 8-ounce packages Philadelphia-brand cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
3/4 cup canned sweetened cream of coconut (such as Coco López)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until smooth. Beat in powdered sugar, cream of coconut and vanilla. Chill until firm enough to spread, about 30 minutes.
2. Place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on platter. Spread 3/4 cup frosting over top of cake. Top with second cake layer, flat side up. Spread 3/4 cup frosting over. Top with third cake layer, rounded side up, pressing slightly.
3. Spread thin layer of frosting over top and sides of cake. Chill cake and remaining frosting 30 minutes. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Chill for 1 hour. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover the cake and chill. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.)