The most surprisingly moist and delicious carrot pumpkin cake with cream cheese icing.
- 1 cup (about 2-3 medium sized) carrots, shredded
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 and 1/4 cups pure canned pumpkin (I recommend Libby’s to keep it from being too watery) *DO not use an entire can of pumpkin or pumpkin pie filling
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 and 1/2 cups light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple, well drained
- 1 cup flaked sweetened coconut
- 2 cups all purpose flour, spooned and leveled
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 packages 8 ounces EACH full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature, do not melt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature do not melt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4-5 cups powdered sugar
- Optional: 1-2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 cup chopped pecans,* optional
- Start by pre-heating the oven to 350 degrees F. Grab 2 9-inch round pans and generously spray with cooking spray and dust generously with flour. (Take your time preparing the pans so the cake doesn’t stick) Set aside.
- Peel and then grate the carrots on the small side of a grater to get very fine pieces of carrots. Shred the carrots carefully. Measure to ensure you have exactly 1 cup.
- Whisk together the whole milk and lemon juice and set aside for 5 minutes (it will look curdled!). Grab a very large bowl and mix the pumpkin (make sure it isn’t watery at all), white sugar, brown sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla, and milk/lemon mixture with a large whisk until completely combined and smooth. Add in the shredded carrots and crushed pineapple. Whisk until smooth.
- Place a sifter over the bowl and sift in the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. Add in the coconut. Mix until JUST combined (do not over-mix to avoid a denser/tougher cake.)
- Separate the mixture evenly among the prepared pans and bake for 27-30 minutes or until a toothpick, when inserted into the center, comes out clean. Remove and allow to cool for 5-7 minutes before inverting the cakes onto a cooling rack for them to finish cooling.
- Meanwhile, prepare the frosting. In a large bowl fitted to a stand mixer, add in the cream cheese and butter. Make sure both are at room temperature and not at all melted or softened.
- Beat the two until completely smooth. Add in the vanilla extract and a generous pinch of salt (if desired). Beat until smooth.
- Add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time until you’ve added 3 and 1/2 cups. Remove 1/4 of the frosting now to go into the center of the cake. Add the remaining 1/2 to 1 and 1/2 cups of frosting until you have a good frosting consistency. If needed add in the heavy cream. The frosting won’t be as firm as a buttercream, but firm enough to frost the cake.
- To decorate: place a little frosting on the bottom of a cake pan (just to hold the bottom cake in place) and top with 1 completely cooled cake. Add the reserved 1/4 of the frosting into the center and smooth it.
- Top the frosting with the other cake.
- Use the remaining frosting to generously frost the cake. If the frosting is too soft, either refrigerate it or add an additional 1/2 cup powdered sugar. (You will likely have a bit of extra frosting, so don’t feel like you need to use it all on the cake).
- Once the cake is frosted, decorate the sides with the pecans if desired.
*You can also add a cup of chopped pecans to the cake batter if you like nuts in your cake!