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Slice Carrot CakeI have a niece (well actually, I have several nieces) who is quite an accomplished baker!  She makes beautiful and delicious wedding cakes, does specialty Christmas baking for many customers and bakes lots of other beautiful things to savor with both the eye and the taste buds.  It’s probably a good thing she lives a few hours away from me, or I would have gained lots of weight by now.  She shared this recipe for Carrot Pineapple Cake with me, which is one of the options that she offers for use in her wedding cakes.  It  is an absolutely fabulous and moist cake!  It has become one of my very favorite desserts.  Since then, I have found the same recipe in other places, (allrecipes.com rates it 5*) but since I first learned about it from Tracie, I am calling it by her name.

Yes, readers, this is still a bread blog, first and foremost, but I just gotta share this carrot cake recipe.  It is too delicious to keep still about.

Tracie’s Fabulous Carrot Pineapple Cake

Makes a 3 layer 9″ cake.  If making a 9 X 13″ cake, use only half the frosting.

2 c. all-purpose flour                    2 c. shredded carrots + 1/4 c., divided

2 tsp. baking soda                       1 c. flaked coconut

1 tsp. baking powder                    1 c. chopped walnuts + 1/2 c., divided

1 tsp. salt                                    1 (8 oz.) can crushed pineapple, drained

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 3/4 c. white sugar                             Frosting

1 c. vegetable oil                             2 (8 oz.) pkg cream cheese, room temp

3 eggs                                           1/2 c. butter, softened

1 tsp. vanilla extract                        4 c. confectioners’ sugar

Better Butter on Cake pans1.  Preheat oven to 350 F.  Grease and flour 3 (9″) cake pans or cut a parchment paper circle for the bottom.  I would flour that too.  (Tip: If you have not tried the recipe for Better Butter for greasing, pans, I recommend trying it now).

2.  Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.  Make a well in the center and add sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla.  Mix with wooden spoon until smooth.   Stir Nut chopperin 2 c. shredded carrots, coconut, 1 c. walnuts and well-drained pineapple.  It will be a very thick batter.  (Tip:  I have an inexpensive chopper that is designated solely for use with nuts.  Makes quick work of chopping and since only nuts are chopped in it, I don’t have to clean it very often.) 

3.  Spoon the batter into the three 9″ cake pans.  Because it is a heavy batter loaded with all those good nuts, etc., you will have to help spread the batter out across each pan evenly.  It will be only a thin layer of batter in each pan, but that’s okay.  It’ll puff up in the oven a bit.  Bake at 350 F for about 35 – 40 minutes.  (Tip:  If you were to bake this recipe in a 9 X 13″ cake pan, you would notice the center sink a little.  I don’t notice any appreciable sinking using the 3 round cake pans.)  Allow the cakes to cool completely on wire racks.

4.  To make the frosting, cream the butter and cream cheese until smooth and light.  Add the confectioner’s sugar and beat until creamy.   Frost the cake on the serving plate that you intend to use.  (Tip:  It will be easier if the serving plate can rotate easily for frosting the cake.)  Put about 3/4 – 1 c. frosting on the top of the first layer and Carrot cake for Easterspread evenly to the edge. Top with second cake layer and put about 3/4 – 1 c. frosting on that.  On the third layer, spread about a 1 1/2 c. or more of the frosting and pull it out to just beyond the edge of the cake.  Then spread frosting all around on the sides with a large spoon or spatula.  (Tip:  It helps to have a silicone spatula in one hand and a stainless spreader in the other.  Seems to work better for me when I put the bolus of frosting on the higher side of the cake and work it down, rather than vice versa.) How do other people do this?

5.  I am not bashful when it comes to sprinkling a generous amount of chopped walnuts on top of the cake and I also like to “throw” nuts onto the vertical sides.  (There’s probably some better technique to get walnuts on the sides, but I don’t know what it is. Anyone?  Anyone?  Buehler?) Then I place little bits of the left over shredded carrot on top of the cake and around the bottom of the cake, just for fun.  Refrigerate the cake.   Once people taste this, you probably won’t have it around very long.  Enjoy!

As you can see, I made this cake for Easter dessert.  Bunnies are totally optional.  Happy baking!

P.S.  I’d love to hear from bakers about your techniques for frosting the sides of a cake and for applying nuts, etc. to the sides.