This lightened carrot cake recipe features a tender cake packed with grated carrot, flaked coconut, and chopped pecans. Just like a traditional carrot cake, this cake is topped with a thick cream cheese frosting. This is the perfect cake for any occasion. During the spring, decorate it with delicate carrots made of frosting or candies. For Christmas, this beloved baking recipe can be made with extra spices and hints of nutmeg and cinnamon.
To prepare cake, lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, sugar, coconut, pecans, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl; stir well with a whisk. Combine oil and eggs; stir well. Stir egg mixture, grated carrot, and pineapple into flour mixture. Spoon batter into a 13 x 9-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.
To prepare frosting, combine butter and cream cheese in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Beat in powdered sugar and vanilla just until smooth. Spread frosting over top of cake. Garnish each serving with grated carrot, if desired.
A unique touch to impress guests: Add pineapple for some extra sweetness and flavor. Add zucchini for additional nutritional benefits and texture. Add apple or browned-butter glaze for a seasonal touch in the colder months.