Baked this for my sister's birthday. It went over really well. We slice the leftovers, put them on a cookie sheet in the freezer then wrapped the frozen slices for later.
Carrot Cake with a Tropical Flavor
1 3/4 cup plus 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
4 cups shredded carrots
1 cup chopped unsalted macadamia nuts or pecans
1/2 cup raisins or currants
2 cups diced fresh pineapple
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup pineapple juice
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Hint: You can use a 20 ounce can of crushed canned pineapple and it works just fine. I suggest you use about double the cornstarch though. It makes a great filling.
Cream cheese icing:
2 8-oz. packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners' (powdered) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup finely chopped toasted, unsalted macadamia nuts or pecans
Untoasted nuts work just fine, especially if you're going to put them in the icing instead of trying to put them on the side of the cake. I also added about 4 tablespoons of milk the icing. It was a little too stiff for the light mixer.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease one 10x3-inch round cake pan. Line bottom with circle of parchment or wax paper. Grease paper and lightly flour pan. You can also use three nine inch cake pans and prep them the same way. Much easier to deal with three layers rather than trying to slice one layer keep them from breaking.
Sift together 13/4 cup flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In large mixing bowl, combine oil, sugar and eggs. With electric mixer, beat a medium speed until light in color, about 3 to 4 minutes. At low speed, gradually add flour mixture, beating just until smooth. Combine carrots, nuts, raisins and remaining 2 tablespoons flour. Gently fold into batter. Pour batter into prepared cake pan.
Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce head to 325 F. and bake for 50 to 55 minutes longer, or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean and surface springs back when gently pressed with finger. For three layers bake at 350 for ten minutes. Reduce heat and check in about 15 minutes.
Cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes. Run knife around sides of cake to loosen. Turn cake out and cool completely, paper-side down. Mix filling and icing.
To assemble cake: peel paper off cake. Using a long serrated knife, slice cake horizontally into three layers. Remove top two layers (it helps to use a cardboard cake circle or a flat cookie sheet to slide under the cut layers and lift off). Place bottom layer on 10-inch serving plate. Spread half pineapple filling over cake layer. Place middle layer of cake on top of filling and spread withremaining filling. Place top layer of cake on icing. Spread remaining icing evenly over sides and top of cake. Press chopped toasted nuts onto sides of cake. Makes 20 servings.
For filling: In medium saucepan combine pineapple and sugar. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until pineapple is tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Combine pineapple juice and cornstarch and stir into cooked pineapple; boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. (Can be made a day ahead and chilled, covered, in refrigerator.)
For icing: In medium bowl, with electric mixer, beat together cream cheese and butter. Add sugar and vanilla; beat until smooth. Personally, I added the chopped nuts to the icing. It works just fine and I used whole pecan nut halves for garnish.
Each serving contains 539 calories, 40 g fat, 44 g carbohydrate, 69 mg cholesterol, 242 mg sodium. — Grand prize $2,000 winner in "Carats for Carrots" contest sponsored by the California Fresh Carrot Advisory Board.