People. Listen. If you are in search of a dessert to serve at a party, give as a gift, or just eat, your search is over. You are looking at the best carrot cake ever made. I have converted sworn carrot cake haters with this cake, I have made grown men cry, I have.....well you get the point. It's amazing. People request this cake constantly and I've made it more times than I can count. A word of caution...it is capable of feeding about thirty and lasts my family about a week. Which is unheard of in this house. Also, the leftovers always taste better than the first cake, so if your bringing this somewhere, make it a day ahead so the flavors can meld in the fridge overnight.
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups sugar
1 tbsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
4 large eggs
2 tbsp. vanilla extract
1½ cups canola or vegetable oil
½ cup cream of coconut (I have used coconut milk if you cannot find this)
1½ cups peeled, shredded carrots
1½ cups shredded pineapple
1½ cups sweetened flaked coconut
1 cup macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped and lightly toasted(I use walnuts)
For the frosting:
4 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
5½ tbsp. heavy cream
5½ tbsp. cream of coconut
¾ tsp. salt
To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line three 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper and spray the sides.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg and mix. In another mixing bowl, combine the eggs, vanilla, oil, and cream of coconut. Whisk well to combine. Add the wet ingredients to the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir just until incorporated. Add in the shredded carrots, shredded pineapple (no need to drain), flaked coconut and macadamia nuts (or walnuts) . Fold in gently with a spatula until evenly incorporated.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes. The cakes are finished baking when golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Don't worry if the edges are hard, the frosting softens them up quite a bit. Cool the cakes 5-10 minutes in the pans, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the frosting, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the cream cheese on medium-high speed until smooth. Add in the powdered sugar and mix until incorporated. Beat 1 minute more, until smooth and fluffy. Mix in the heavy cream, cream of coconut and salt until smooth. Make sure you do not over beat this frosting. The consistency changes and becomes hard to frost. Also, this makes ALOT of frosting. If you are not piping decorations, you will have some leftover.
To assemble the cake, place one cake layer on a cake stand or platter. Spread a layer of cream cheese frosting over the top (don't skimp!). Top with another cake layer, and more frosting on top of that. Place the final cake layer on top. (At this point, I always stick four to five cut up chopsticks in the cake to keep it stable.) Use the remaining frosting to cover the top and sides of the assembled cake, reserving up to 1 cup for detailing if desired.
adapted from annie's eats