Carrot Cake Day

It’s National Carrot Cake Day and we can’t think of a more deserving pastry to celebrate.  This hearty confection elevates the humble root to a sweet cakey splendor, equally at home in weddings and Sunday dinners. 

Carrot Cake Day

 

In celebrating this colorful vegetable’s rise to dessert all-star, we made a classic carrot layer cake with a few unusual additions: coconut and pineapple.  Rest assured these tropical influences do not overwhelm, yet somehow serve to enhance the rich flavor and texture of the cake. 

Fiesta Carrot Cake

 

A luscious cream cheese frosting is the perfect complement to this lightly spiced cake, a pairing that goes way back (if it ain’t broke…).  We did, however, eschew the typical chopped nut and carrot embellishments in favor of a flaked coconut coating.  The sash of flowers?  Dried pineapple flowers, of course!

Fiesta Carrot Cake Slice

 

 

Carrot Cake
A moist carrot cake laced with coconut and pineapple.
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Ingredients
For the Cake
  1. 2 cups granulated sugar
  2. 1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
  3. 3 large eggs
  4. 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  5. 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  6. 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  7. 2 tsp baking soda
  8. 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  9. 1 cup raisins
  10. 1 cup chopped walnuts
  11. 1 cup flaked coconut
  12. 1 pound of carrots, grated
  13. 1 can (15 oz.) crushed pineapple, drained
For the Frosting
  1. 3/4 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
  2. 1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
  3. 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  4. 1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
For the Flower Garnish
  1. 2 large pineapples, sliced
Directions
For the Cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Butter 2 8-inch round cake pans, then line with parchment paper and butter and flour the pans.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat sugar and oil.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. When the batter is light yellow in color, add the vanilla.
  6. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.
  7. Add the dry ingredients to the wet batter.
  8. Fold in raisins, walnuts, carrots and pineapple.
  9. Divide batter between the two pans and bake for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  10. Cool the cakes completely before frosting.
For the Frosting
  1. Beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla with an electric mixer until combined. Slowly add in the sugar, mixing until smooth and creamy.
For the Flower Garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 225 degrees.
  2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Using a small spoon or melon baller, carve out black pineapple eyes.
  4. Cut pineapple, crosswise, into very thin slices and gently place on baking sheets.
  5. Bake until tops look dried, about 60 minutes.
  6. Flip slices and bake until completely dried, about 60 minutes more.
  7. Pinch the center of each pineapple slice to form a cone and allow to cool in a clean egg carton or muffin pan to form flowers.
Adapted from Ina Garten
Adapted from Ina Garten
Fiesta Dinnerware, Always Festive http://alwaysfestive.com/
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