Featured Recipe: Nutty Carrot Cake

I made this cake for Victor’s recent birthday. It took a while to make (mostly due to my current pregnant state) but was a huge hit with everyone! I hope you enjoy this recipe.
Nutty Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing
Serves 8 to 10
Carrot Cake
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups corn oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups grated carrot, about 2 large carrots
2 jars (4 ounces each) carrot puree (baby food)
2 cups toasted pecans, chopped (reserve 1 cup for decorating)
Cream Cheese Icing
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
12 ounces cream cheese (at room temperature)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter (at room temperature)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Line two 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper circles, and butter and flour each pan.
Toast the whole pecans for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Chop once cooled, for use in the recipe.
To make the cake:
Sift together the flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and kosher salt into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, and vanilla and add to the dry ingredients. Beat on low speed for about 1 minute. Add the grated carrot, carrot puree, and chopped pecans and mix until just incorporated.
Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans and bake until a knife or toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes, rotating halfway through the process for even baking. [Note: Mine were done in exactly 40 minutes, so set your timers accordingly to avoid overcooking.] Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool completely. Invert onto the wire rack after 15 – 20 minutes, and peel the parchment paper off once cakes are completely cooled.
Note: If you would like to save the cakes for frosting later, wrap each cake tightly in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until you are ready to frost them.
To make the icing:
Sift the powdered sugar into a medium bowl and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together at medium speed the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and kosher salt, scraping down the sides of the bowl at least once, until the mixture is smooth, with no lumps, about 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly add the powdered sugar and beat until light, fluffy, and well blended, scraping down the sides of the bowl halfway through.
To assemble, place one cake, flat-side up, on a platter. Spread part of the icing over the top of the cake. Top with the second cake, flat-side up, and spread the remaining icing over the top and sides of the cake. Decorate with the remaining 1 cup of chopped pecans, as desired.

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