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The Ultimate Carrot Cake

Photo: Alison Miksch; Styling: Caroline M. Cunningham

Hands-on time 1 hr
Total time 4 hrs, 35 mins
Yield

Makes 12 servings

These layers are tender, so remove from pans carefully!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups grated carrots
  • 1 cup peeled and grated Granny Smith apple
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • Candied Carrot Curls
  • Brown Sugar-Cream Cheese Frosting

How to Make It

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Toss together first 3 ingredients; spread in a single layer in a foil- lined pan. Bake 10 minutes or until toasted, stirring once.

  2. Stir together flour and next 4 ingredients. Beat butter and both sugars at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended. Add oil; beat until blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended.

  3. Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Stir in vanilla; fold in carrots, next 2 ingredients, and 1 cup toasted pecans. Spoon batter into 3 greased (with shortening) and floured 9-inch round cake pans.

  4. Bake at 350° for 23 to 28 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 15 minutes. Remove from pans, and cool completely. Spread Brown Sugar-Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake. Top with Candied Carrot Curls and remaining toasted pecans.