Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting

Carrot cake is the perfect dessert for Easter, springtime – or anytime, really.

Eat. Run. Read.
Decadent carrot cake with coconut and cream cheese frosting. Add Easter egg candy on the frosted top as a decorative festive touch.

I finally found the right carrot cake recipe for me.

Everyone loves carrot cake. It's the cream cheese frosting, the spicy-ish flavor, and the delicious moist texture that adding veggies to desserts so often yields. But at the same time, everyone has their own carrot cake preferences. Nuts or no nuts? What about raisins? How crumbly? How chunky? Layer cake or sheet cake? 
 
I'm pretty positive I found the perfect balance in this recipe: carrots, pineapple, pecans, coconut, and the magic ingredient: applesauce! This cake is all things a carrot cake should be, plus it only uses a quarter cup of oil in the whole cake. The frosting, on the other hand, is another story....

This is the perfect Easter/springtime/anytime dessert. RoommateRachel and I had seven friends over last night to celebrate East-Over: Matzo Ball Soup followed by this Carrot Cake. Deeelicious. We poured a glass for Elijah, and then snacked on dark chocolate Easter eggs after dinner. Mash-up holidays really are the best.

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting 

For the cake:
1-1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce 
1/4 cup oil
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups grated carrots
1 cup coconut
1 cup chopped nuts (optional – pecans or walnuts)
1 teaspoon vanilla or whiskey
1 cup Dole crushed pineapple, plus juice (be sure to use the pineapple in JUICE not syrup)

 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans. Set aside.

 2. Combine wet ingredients. 

 3. Mix in dry ingredients. 

 4. Stir in carrots, coconut, nuts, vanilla/whiskey, and pineapple. 

 5. Pour into two greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans.

 6. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the cake just starts to pull away from the sides and the middle doesn't look gooey.

7. Let cakes cool in pans for 10 minutes, then run a spatula or knife around the edges and turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling. The cakes must cool completely before frosting!

Cream Cheese Frosting 
1/2 cup butter (softened)
8 ounces cream cheese (softened)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-3 cups powdered sugar
milk as needed

 1. Beat the butter and cream cheese thoroughly.

2. Add in the vanilla and 2 cups powdered sugar and beat until and smooth.

3. Add milk, one splash (about a tablespoon at a time), along with the rest of the powdered sugar until it reaches a spreadable consistency.  

To Assemble: 
Frost first layer (with a generous layer of frosting in the middle). Put second cake on top and frost first the sides and then the top of the cake. Decorate with coconut and chopped nuts and chocolate Easter eggs if desired.

Related post on Eat. Run. Read.: Carrot cake cheeksecake

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