Guys. This was the best carrot cake everrr, and I'm about to serve you up all the key details so that you too can make this magic in your own home.
This Easter, given all things quarantine, we took advantage of all the extra time at home by celebrating the holiday with some extra serious baking, and the boys helped me make this epic carrot cake that will now be an annual family tradition.
Easter was a little over a week ago, and this cake is obviously long gone, and I already think it's time to recreate this masterpiece ASAP, especially because it's already been a long week...how is it only Tuesday?!...and it's time to bring some instant gratification and delight to my current state of being.
Raise your hand if you are also in need of some levity in your life right now.
Okay great, so this is the recipe you’ve been waiting for. If the picture above isn't convincing enough, let me say this: you haven’t lived if you aren’t eating carrot cake with mascarpone frosting and toasted pecans (I will be adding toasted coconut next year). I used a couple different recipes to pull this baby together. It was unbelievably delicious, relatively easy, and a mega crowd pleasure, which says a lot coming from someone who really only gets excited about chocolate.
Here’s everything you need to know to make it happen:
3/4 c Vegetable oil
3/4 c unsweetened applesauce
2 c sugar
1 tsp salt
4 large eggs
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups *King Arthur Organic White Whole Wheat Flour
3 c finely grated carrots
**2 c toasted chopped pecans
*This flour was what I believe to be the game changer. It was the only one available at the grocery store, and ironically (?) it came with a carrot cake recipe, and alas this fabulous cake was born. Note, the following recipe was adapted from King Arthur's Carrot Cake Recipe, which was tweaked to my liking.
**~1/2+ c of the toasted chopped pecans will be used for the topping. I always er on the side of more here :)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two 9" round layer pans.
Beat together the oil, applesauce, sugar, salt, eggs, spices, and baking soda.
Measure out flour, and add to mixer one cup at a time, and mis after each cup. Stir until well blended.
Measure out 1 1/2 pecans (chop as needed), and place on baking sheet into oven for 10-ish minutes or until slightly toasted. I usually can tell theyre ready once I can smell them baking. Be careful not to burn, and do not over bake!
Add toasted chopped pecans and grated carrots, and mix until just blended. Pour evenly into the prepared pans.
Bake or 35 to 40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool completely before frosting - this is key!
WHIPPED MASCARPONE FROSTING:
2 8-oz tub of mascarpone
4 tbsp butter (room temperature)
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 heaping tbsp Disaronno (amaretto)
Whip together the mascarpone, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and amaretto until smooth and creamy (I hand mixer will work here, but I love our KitchenAid mixer for this job). You can always add a little milk or more amaretto if the mixture is too thick, or more powdered sugar if too thin. I actually only had one tub of mascarpone for this round which meant I halved this frosting recipe, and it still worked out great. But for future we will stick to the above quantities because more of this delicious frosting on this fabulous cake is always better — the taste testers agreed.
Grab a cake stand, or platter that you pre-prep with a sheet of wax paper for easy relocating to a fancier serving plate. Place the first layer on the designated stand/platter, and frost the top, then add a handful of toasted pecans to desired middle-layer coverage. Add second cake layer and frost entire cake as desired — I love the look of an almost naked cake as shown here, plus this "messier" look, makes it easier to work with because you don't need perfect smoothness or coverage. Lastly, decorate the top with remaining toasted pecans.
Enjoy immediately, or display for bragging rights and photo opps until the time is right to indulge.
You can also trace the bottom of the 9" round layer pans on a sheet of wax paper for a cleaner base under the cake layers. I didn't do this for this round, because I placed the cake right on a cake stand, knowing it would go fast!
I used an icing spatula to to apply the frosting. This is one of my favorite baking tools, and is an awesome and easy way to makes your cake look a bit more pro.
For a "cleaner" pecan topping look, cut the corner off a ziplock bag and fill with chopped pecans so that you can control the distribution on top more easily.
And there you have it. You can thank me later *wink*.
Let’s eat (and make) cake!!!