Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Tall, Sweet, with a touch of cinnamon spice. This cake is a perfect Spring dessert.
- Cooking spray
- 2 cups of pecan halves
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- Kosher salt
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 3 cups finely grated carrots (about 1 pound carrots)
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 pound cream cheese, cut into cubes, at room temperature
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into cubes, at room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Kosher salt
- 1/4 cup heavy cream, cold
For the cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two 9-inch round cake pans with parchment and lightly coat with cooking spray.
- Spread the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until lightly brown and fragrant, 7 minutes.
- Set aside 12 pecan halves to decorate the finished cake; chop the remaining pecans.
- Set aside 1 cup of the chopped pecans to use in the batter; reserve the rest for decorating the finished cake.
- Whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and 1 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl.
- Whisk together the eggs and granulated sugar in a large bowl until smooth, about 1 minute. Whisk in the oil until well combined. Add the grated carrots, vanilla and 1 cup chopped pecans, and mix well. Add the dry ingredients, and stir until just combined. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the cakes are nicely browned, about 30 minutes.
- Let cool on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Loosen the edges with a spatula, turn the cakes out and let cool completely, right-side up, on the cooling rack, about 2 hours. Remove the parchment before frosting.
For the frosting:
- Beat the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, scraping down the side as necessary, until smooth, about 2 minutes.
- Add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; gradually increase the mixer speed to medium-high, and beat until the sugar is incorporated and the frosting is fluffy and smooth, about 3 minutes.
- With the mixer on medium-high, add the cream a few drops at a time until it’s all incorporated.
- Continue beating for 1 more minute until the frosting is slightly lighter in color and creamy.
- Place one of the cake layers on a serving plate, and spread 1 cup of the frosting over the top.
- Top with the other layer, and use the remaining frosting to frost the top and sides of the cake.
- Arrange the 12 whole pecans on top of the cake like the numbers on a clock face, and sprinkle the remaining chopped pecans in between.
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