Thursday, October 4, 2012

Happy Birthday To Me! Best Carrot Cake in the Universe with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

gratuitous frosting shot

more frosting...
This past weekend was my birthday, and all I wanted was just a leopard McQueen clutch. Just a leopard McQueen clutch, and some shoes. Just a leopard McQueen clutch, some shoes and a great dinner. Just a leopard McQueen clutch, some shoes, a great dinner and an amazing cake. Sooo, what does someone who has a food blog make for her birthday cake? Yes, that's right, I made my own cake, but my boyfriend made the McQueen clutch and dinner happen, so I was pretty happy to contribute the cake part AND, I happen to have an amazing, ridiculous carrot cake recipe AND, carrot cake happens to be my absolute favorite. I usually eat it in the Fall, because cream cheese frosting and Texas summer heat don't mix. But September is officially Carrot Cake Season! Suck it NFL! Don't take it from me, an anonymous tester described it as, "this carrot cake is the fantasy football equivalent of a running back scoring four touchdowns in a game!" I don't know what that means, but it seems positive. Read the full recipe after the jump.

Carrot Cake with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting (Serves 14-16)
You Will Need
  • 2 C peeled carrots, grated (I grate my by hand)
  • 1 1/2 C drained crush canned pineapple 
  • 1 1/2 C flaked coconut - sweetened variety
  • 1/2 C roasted, salted pistachios, chopped medium
  • 1/4 C roasted, salted pecans, chopped medium
  • 1/2 C chopped raisins (golden and/or regular)
  • 2 T vanilla extract
    3 C all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 3 C granulated sugar
  • 1 T baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1  tsp salt
  • 1 T ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 C vegetable oil  
  • 24 oz cream cheese (softened)
  • 1 1/2 C powdered sugar  (or more)
  • 1/2 C flaked coconut - sweetened variety
This cake involves a lot. Of everything. So get a big bowl or three and your measuring cups and buckle up. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. You will need three 9-inch cake pans. Grease and flour the pans, then cut parchment paper "rounds" for each pan. This is super easy. You'll need three sheets of parchment paper and scissors. See the instruction video below for a great "how-to."

Place the parchment rounds in the bottom of each pan. Butter again.

Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl, Add flaked coconut, and both kinds of nuts. In another large bowl, whisk eggs, vegetable oil, carrots, vanilla, raisins and pineapple. Pour the "wet" mixture into the "dry"/flour mixture and stir until combined.

Pour the batter into the pans. Depending on your oven, you might have to bake in shifts. If you have a nice, large oven, you can do all three layers at the same time, most likely you'll have two layers on one rack and one on another. Keep them toward the middle of the oven . Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their pans on racks for 10 minutes, then invert them onto the racks and cool completely. This usually takes about 30 minutes total. 

Meanwhile, make the frosting. Who doesn't  love a cream cheese frosting? Place cream cheese in bowl of stand mixer. Beat on medium speed until fluffy and combined, add powdered sugar in amount recommended and beat on high speed until light. Taste for flavor and texture. If you are satisfied, go ahead and add the coconut, if you need a little more powdered sugar, add it gradually until you are happy. I think this is just an excuse to taste the frosting over and over again, but who cares.

Be sure your layers are 100% cool before frosting. Frost between each layer lightly and generously around the sides and on top. Sprinkle with more coconut and a dusting of cinnamon (if you want!) I think it looks nice in pictures. Enjoy!

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