This recipe from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, restaurateur Mildred "Mama Dip" Council is one of the best carrot cakes we've tested. The cake layers can be made ahead and frozen up to one month.
Southern Living JUNE 2012
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Arrange walnuts in a single layer in a shallow pan. Bake 12 minutes or until toasted and fragrant.
2. Sift together flour, cinnamon, and baking soda. Line bottoms of 3 lightly greased 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper; lightly grease parchment paper.
3. Beat sugar and oil at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Add flour mixture, beating at low speed just until blended. Fold in carrots and 1 cup toasted walnuts. Spoon batter into prepared pans.
4. Bake at 350° for 35 to 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks; remove parchment paper, and let cakes cool 1 hour or until completely cool.
5. Spread 5-Cup Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake; press remaining 1 cup chopped walnuts halfway up sides of cake.
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