Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting

Carrot cake recipe
260g toasted pecan nuts, chopped
300g demerara sugar
100g white sugar
240ml vegetable oil
4 large eggs
130g crushed pineapple (if using canned pineapple make sure most of the syrup is strained)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
315g cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon powder
1 teaspoon ginger powder
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg powder
1/4 teaspoon cloves powder
260g finely grated carrots

Frosting
460g full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
120g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
500g icing sugar
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
pinch of salt, to taste
Orange gel food coloring
Green gel food coloring
2 small piping bags

Method
Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Prepare two or 22cm cake tins with baking paper and spray the sides with baking spray for easy release.

Whisk both brown and white sugar, oil, eggs, crushed pineapple, and vanilla together in a bowl until combined. In another bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, bicarb, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and, using a spatula, fold the ingredients together until just combined. Fold in the carrots and 1 cup of the toasted pecan nuts.

Pour the batter evenly into the cake tins, and bake for 30-35 minutes. Test the center by inserting a skewer into the centre of the cake comes out clean. If not, continue to bake until cooked through.

Allow the cakes to cool completely in the pans set on a cooling rack. The cakes must be completely cool before icing and assembling. Once at room temperature, I like to wrap each layer in cling film and freeze it while making the icing.

Cream cheese frosting
In a large bowl using a handheld mixer beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until smooth. Add the icing sugar, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. Beat on low speed until completely combined and creamy.

Add more icing sugar if the icing is too thin. You could also add in a splash of milk or cream if your icing is too thick. Transfer the colored icing to two separate piping bags.

Assemble
Place 1 cake layer on your cake stand or serving plate. Evenly cover the top with icing. Top with 2nd layer, and spread remaining icing all over the top and sides. Pipe tiny carrots all around the outside of the cake, followed by the green carrot stalks. Sprinkle with finely chopped pecans and then chill the cake for an hour to set. Refrigerate the cake for at least 20 minutes before slicing. Slice using a serrated knife for neat slices.

Cover leftover frosted cake tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

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