Carrot Cake with Everything In It
Carrot cake enthusiasts will beg you to make this cake year round, not just on their birthdays. What makes it so special is the combination of pineapple, nuts, raisins, poppy seeds and a double dose of coconut from flaked coconut and cream of coconut, all enhanced with cinnamon and ginger. Even the cream cheese frosting for this large three-layer cake is flavored with cream of coconut. I use Coco Lopez brand (shake the can well before opening); it can be found in supermarkets nationwide.
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup flavorless vegetable oil
- 1½ cups sugar
- ¼ cup cream of coconut
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups lightly packed, finely grated carrots (about ¾ pound)
- 1½ cups sweetened, flaked coconut
- 1½ cups canned crushed pineapple, drained very well
- 1 cup toasted and chopped pecans or walnuts
- 1 cup raisins
- 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
- For the Cake: Position rack in middle of oven. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat the insides of three 9-inch by 2-inch round cake pans with nonstick spray, line bottoms with parchment paper, then spray parchment.
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl to combine and aerate; set aside.
- Whisk together oil, sugar and cream of coconut until well blended in medium bowl. Whisk in eggs one at a time until absorbed. Whisk in cinnamon, ginger and vanilla, then stir in carrots, coconut, pineapple, nuts, raisins and poppy seeds.
- Pour wet ingredients over dry and stir until combined. Batter will be heavy; make sure you combine well and there are no pockets of flour left. Divide batter evenly in prepared pans.
- Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick shows a few moist crumbs. Cool pans on racks for 10 minutes. Unmold, peel off parchment, and place directly on racks to cool completely. Cake is ready to fill and frost. Alternatively, place layers on cardboards and double wrap in plastic wrap; store at room temperature and assemble within 24 hours.
- Fill and frost with prepared frosting and decorate as desired; we just made casual swirls with an icing spatula. Cake may be served immediately or refrigerated up to 2 days under covered cake dome. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Image: Peter Muka