This moist, delicious carrot cake has traditional ingredients like carrot, pineapple, and walnuts, with the addition of toasted coconut flakes to dress up cream cheese icing. The ease of assembly is the kicker here: a box mix enhanced with fresh ingredients comes together in minutes and is sure to impress guests.
1 (16.5-oz.) pkg. spice cake mix (such as Duncan Hines)
1 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
2 1/2 cups shredded carrots (from 2 large peeled carrots)
1 1/2 cups pineapple tidbits (from 1 [20-oz.] can), drained and pressed dry with paper towels
2 cups chopped toasted walnuts, divided
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (4 oz.) salted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups (about 16 oz.) powdered sugar
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 15- x 10-inch jelly-roll pan liberally with baking spray. Combine, cake mix, water, oil, and eggs in the bowl of a heavy-duty electric stand mixer, and mix according to package directions. Stir in carrots, pineapple, and 1 cup of the walnuts. Pour batter into prepared jelly-roll pan. Bake in preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs, about 25 minutes.
Transfer pan to a wire rack; cool completely, about 30 minutes.
Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on medium speed until fluffy and well combined, 4 to 5 minutes. Add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating until blended after each addition and stopping to scrape down sides of bowl as needed.
Spoon cream cheese mixture, in dollops, over surface of cooled cake. Using an offset spatula, spread to coat surface of cake evenly. Top evenly with remaining 1 cup walnuts. Sprinkle evenly with coconut.
Make sure to let the cake cool completely before frosting. It will save you the aggravation of tearing the surface of the cake. Also, take the time to soften your cream cheese and butter, and your frosting will get nice and light and fluffy instead of thick and difficult to beat.