For the Cake:
2 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup mild flavored oil, I use cold pressed safflower oil
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
½ cup unsweetened crushed pineapple, squeezed dry
3 cups grated carrots, about 3-4 large carrots
1 cup raisins
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
For the Frosting:
3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
18 ounces (two 8 oz pkgs plus ¼ of another) full fat cream cheese, softened
6 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
2 Tablespoons pure vanilla extract
Jelly beans or other Easter candies for decoration (optional)
Make the cake:
Place the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.
Butter or spray with cooking spray two 8 or 9 inch round cake pans. If using the 8 inch pan it should measure at least 2 inches high. Cut 2 parchment circles to fit the bottoms and butter or spray the parchment again.
Place a strainer over a medium size bowl, and sift the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt through it. Set aside.
In a large bowl, with a wire whisk, combine the oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Whisk in the pineapple until well incorporated. Switch to a large spoon or spatula and stir in the flour mixture until completely combined. Add the carrots, raisins and walnuts and mix until evenly distributed.
Divide the batter between the 2 prepared pans, and bake for 35-45 minutes until the cake has begun to pull away from the sides of the pan, the center is springy to the touch, and a tooth pick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then invert onto a cooling rack. Flip right side up and cool completely.
Make the frosting:
In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter and the cream cheese, just until combined. On slow speed, add the confectioners’ sugar one cup at a time. Add the heavy cream and vanilla and beat on medium-high speed until creamy and a little lighter in color. Do not overbeat, or it will curdle.
Assemble the cake:
Remove the parchment from one of the bottom of the layers. Place the layer, domed side up, on a cake plate. Scoop half of the frosting into the center of the cake. With a spoon, or spatula, spread the frosting close to the edges, but not over the edge—it will spread out when the second layer is added.
Center the second layer on top of the first, again domed side up, and spoon the rest of the frosting on top. Spread that frosting slightly over the edge and decorate with jelly beans or other Easter candies.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Makes 12-16 servings. YUM!
1. Even though it may be tempting to use a food processor to grate them, hand grate the carrots through the large holes of a box grater. The food processor makes the carrots too wet.
2. Really squeeze all of the liquid out of the canned crushed pineapple. 3. Make sure to line the cake pans with parchment for easy removal. You don’t want the layers to break.
4. Freezing the cake works really well. Double wrap the layers in plastic wrap and then place in freezer bags or wrap in foil. You can even frost the layers frozen.
5. Unlike a buttercream frosting, you want to beat this cream cheese frosting just until it becomes creamy and becomes a little lighter in color. Overbeating it will make it curdle. Been there, done that.