Desserts, Sweet Snacks

Rustic Carrot Cake with Coconut Pecan Caramel Frosting

for the cake
1 cup chopped pecans
1 pound carrots
3 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon orange zest
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

for the Frosting
1 cup sugar
1 can evaporated milk
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/3 cups flaked coconut
1 1/2 cup chopped pecans

You will also need: marzipan carrots (can be bought online at specialty shops, or make them yourself, if you are ambitious)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Generously grease (or use cooking spray) your pans. I used 2 8-inch spring form pans to make 2 cakes.

Toast the pecans in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Rinse the carrots and peel the rough skins off, then grate the carrots.

Place the carrots, buttermilk, oil, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and orange zest together in a bowl and whisk thoroughly. In another bowl whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Fold the flour mixture into the carrot mixture, being sure not to over-mix. Fold in the toasted pecans until evenly incorporated.

Scoop into cake pans about 1/2 to 3/4 full and bake for 35-40 minutes at 350F. Allow to cool for 20 minutes before loosening the spring form pans tin and allowing them to fully cool on a wire rack.

For the frosting, in a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, milk, butter, egg yolks, and vanilla. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir in coconut and pecans. Transfer to a bowl and, stirring occasionally, allow to cool to room temperature before frosting the cake.

When the cakes are cool, slice in half vertically to make two layers. Frost liberally between the layers and on top. Decorate with the marzipan carrots as if they are growing out of the cake.

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