Carrot cake is a yearly tradition at our house. Mike requests it every year for his birthday. I have been making this recipe for years, and it comes out perfect every time.
Grating the carrots nice and fine is a key step when making carrot cake. If the carrots are too thick, they will migrate to the bottom and weigh the cake down. I use the fine side of a box greater to keep them thin and light. Please remember to be careful when grating – along with this yearly carrot cake there seems to be a yearly grating of my knuckle, and it’s never fun.
I modified the frosting recipe from the original one. We prefer the frosting a little thicker.
IF there are a few slices leftover, freeze and save for a tasty ice-cream mix-in.
Tropical Carrot CakeAdapted from Bon Appétit, April 2003
Cake2 1/3 cups sifted all purpose flour (sifted, then measured) 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut 1 cup dry-roasted macadamia nuts 3/4 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 sugar 1 cup vegetable oil 4 large eggs 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 2 cups finely grated peeled carrots 2 8-ounce cans crushed pineapple in its own juice, well drained
Frosting2 8-ounce packages Philadelphia-brand cream cheese, room temperature 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature 4-5 cups powdered sugar 3/4cup canned sweetened cream of coconut (such as Coco López) 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Bring cold ingredients to room temperature, and preheat oven to 350°F. Butter three 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Line bottom of pans with parchment paper, re-butter and then flour.
Combine 1/3 cup flour, coconut, macadamia nuts, and crystalized ginger. Process until nuts are finely chopped. Whisk remaining 2 cups flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in medium bowl to blend.
Using electric mixer, beat sugar and oil in large bowl to blend. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Beat in flour-spice mixture. Stir in coconut-macadamia mixture, then carrots and crushed pineapple.
Divide batter among pans (kitchen scale works well). Bake until tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool in pans on racks 1 hour. Run knife around edge of pans to loosen cakes. Turn cakes out onto racks; cool completely. Do ahead: Cake can be prepared 1 day in advance – wrap in plastic wrap and leave at room temperature until ready to frost. One hour prior to frosting, unwrap cakes so the surface dries slightly, and is easier to frost.
Beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until smooth. Beat in powdered sugar gradually, adjusting amount to taste. Then add cream of coconut and vanilla. Chill until firm enough to spread, about 30 minutes.
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 to adhere. 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 1 hour. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome and chill. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.)