Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Recipe makes two 9-inch layer cakes.

Ingredients:

For the cake:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1 tablespoon for pans
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus 1 tablespoon for pans
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup water
1 pound carrots (8 to 10 medium carrots), peeled and shredded on a box grater (about 2 3/4 cups)
2 1/2 cups pecans (1 1/2 cup finely chopped for batter, 1 cup coarsely chopped for decorating sides of cake)

For the cream cheese frosting:

1 pound (16 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
2 pounds confectioners’ sugar, sifted

 Frosting recipe makes enough for 9-inch layer cake, 1 1/2 quarts.

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and nutmeg.

2. Beat butter and sugars with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time. Beat 3 minutes. Add vanilla, water, and carrots. Beat until well combined. Reduce speed to low, and slowly add flour mixture. Fold in finely chopped pecans.

3. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans. Dust with flour and shake out excess. Divide batter evenly between two pans. Bake at 350 degrees Farenheit, for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown. Rotate pans halfway through. Let cake cool in pans for 25 minutes. Run a knife around cake edges to loosen from pan and turn cakes onto wire racks. Turn right side up and let cool completely.

4. Make the frosting. In an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and vanilla until light and creamy, about 3 minutes. With mixer on medium speed, gradually add butter, beating until incorporated. With mixer on low speed, gradually add sugar, beat until incorporated.

5. Using a serrated knife, trim rounded top of 2 cakes. Place one trimmed cake, cut side up, on a serving platter. Spread 1 cup frosting over cake. Sprinkle finely chopped pecans over frosting. Place second trimmed cake on top, cut side down. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides. Gently press coarsely chopped pecans onto sides of cake.

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Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart’s Carrot Cake.

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