Monday, February 16, 2009

Tropical Carrot Cake with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

If you love carrot cake, this post is for you. I saw this cake on Dinner & Dessert and knew it had to be my birthday cake! It has three sweet layers full of tropical flavors, mixed with the traditional cinnamon & nutmeg spice of a carrot cake. The pineapple makes it super moist and the macadamia nuts are a must.

Just to let you know, this cake is HUGE. The recipe says to use 3 9-inch pans, but I only have 8-inch pans, so mine may have been a litle taller than the original. I also had to adjust the baking time. It took about 45 minutes, but start checking it around 40 minutes if you're using the smaller pans.

I took Erin's advice and made extra frosting (measurements have been updated to reflect the bigger batch). Maybe I slather it on a little thick between the layers because I had just enough to do this cake with the extra. Don't be lazy like me, go ahead and toast some extra coconut and cover the top of the cake!

The cake falling to its side as I take the first shot:

I tried to stand it back up, but it just wasn't happening.

Source: The Pastry Queen by Rebecca Rather, found on Dinner & Dessert

1 cup macadamia nuts (chopped or crushed)
3 cups all purpose flour
3 cups sugar
1 tbsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1-1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
4 large eggs
2 tbsp vanilla
1-1/2 cups vegetable oil, such as canola or safflower
1-1/2 cups shredded peeled carrots
1-1/2 cups diced fresh pineapple or drained crush canned pineapple (this is one 20 oz. can)
1/2 cup sweetened cream of coconut (found near the mixed drinks in the grocery)

Coconut-Cream Cheese Frosting
4 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, at room temperate
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup + 4 tsp heaving whipping cream
1/4 cup + 4 tsp sweetened cream of coconut
1/2 tsp + 1/8 tsp salt

To Make the Cake:
Preheat the oven to 350F. Arrange the nuts on a baking sheet in a single layer and toast them for 7 to 9 minutes, until golden and aromatic. Set aside to cool.

Place one oven rack one-third from the bottom of the oven and the second two-thirds from the bottom. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line three 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper rounds, grease with butter, and dust with flour (or spray with Baker’s Joy).

Stir together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, coconut, and nuts in a large bowl. In another large bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, oil, carrots, pineapple, and cream of coconut. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir until combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans. Stagger the cake layers on the oven racks so that no layer is directly over another. Set 2 layers on one rack and the third on the other. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. The cakes are done when they are golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their pans on racks for 5 minutes, then invert them onto the racks and cool completely, about 15 to 20 minutes.

To Make the Frosting:
Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar in a large bowl on medium-high speed about 1 minute. Add the whipping cream, cream of coconut, and salt; beat until combined.

Place 1 cake layer on a serving plate and spread a thick blanket of frosting on top. Add the second layer, spread thickly with frosting, and top with the third layer. Cover the top and sides of the cake with an even layer of frosting. If you’re feeling energetic and there is frosting left over, use a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip to pipe a decoration around the top rim of the cake.

The cake can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated up to 4 days. Let it cool in the refrigerator about 1 hour before covering, to ensure the frosting has hardened and will not stick to the plastic wrap.

Yield: 12-14 Servings.


feastonthis said...

This cake looks so moist! Carrot cake is one of my favorites and since I have a lot of carrots in my fridge (from being on sale) I think I'm going to be making this next.

Donna-FFW said...

I love carrot cakes. This looks so very good with all the add-ins. And macadamia nuts too, delicious!

Erin said...

This looks beautiful! I loved the twist on traditional carrot cake. Glad you liked it!

Bridget said...

Oh, I DO love carrot cake! Yours looks heavenly! I love the falling cake pic, too. ;)

mamakrystal said...

Hmmm, This looks fabulous!!! My birthday treat was creme brulee, but I'll make this next month for DH's birthday dinner!!! I can't wait, thanks Melissa for the great recipe!

penniesonaplatter said...

You cracked me up with that pic! lol Hubby's favorite cake is Carrot Cake...I'll have to try this with him.

Brooke said...

How do you make all of these delicious treats without gaining weight. Sigh.

Melissa said...

Brooke - Unfortunately I can't make that claim. (I wish!) The trick is to pawn everything off on other people!

Helene said...

I love carrot cake, this is probably one of my favorite desserts. This one looks so good.

Michelle said...

I actually am one of the LUCKY ones that personally tried this delicious cake that Melissa made and it was THE BEST and super moist. You out did yourself once again Melissa....

morelslady said...

Just wanted to say that I have made this Cake several times.It has become my families favorite Cake.
My husband sat at the table after eating a slice, said "Babes that has got to be the best Cake I have ever eaten in my life". Just wanted to tell ya..
We thank you for sharing this recipe!!!!

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