Praline Carrot Cake

 

carrot cake on fork

I tend to shy away from statements like “This is the best (fill in the blank)” because it’s used too freely, but mostly, because ‘best ever’ is really a matter of preference. You say tomato, I say tomahto, type of situation. So instead of proclaiming this is the best carrot cake ever, I will simply say 2 things:

  1. This is hands down my favorite carrot cake. It’s in a class all on its own and stands out far above the rest.
  2. I’ve never known anyone, who, after taking a bite of this cake for the first time, didn’t close their eyes and “mmmm” simultaneously.

whole carrot cake

This recipe has been in the family file for a good while. My mom is a retired nurse, but back in the days of working in the recovery room, a fellow nurse made this cake for her birthday one year. Mom is a self proclaimed chocoholic, preferring chocolate over any other dessert. In my mind, I imagine her being gracious and thanking the woman who made this for her, and on the inside being slightly disappointed that it wasn’t chocolate with chocolate oozing more chocolate. Until she took her first bite. Refer back to the above referenced second comment.

Slice of carrot cake

You’ll have to try it out for yourself to determine if it’s worthy of the label “Best”. I can say with utmost certainty, if you like carrot cake, you will undoubtedly be quite pleased as will those that you share it with. My birthday was this past Sunday and it kicks off the rest of the family’s birthdays as well. Since I enjoy baking so much, it doesn’t bother me to bake my own cake; in fact, I prefer it. This rounded out our Easter dinner nicely. I promptly boxed up the remainder of the cake to take to work the next day. With four birthdays in a matter of weeks, we tend to get “caked out”, if you know what I mean. Although, I will say, this cake freezes well. It’s packed with dense, yummy richness, so a little bit goes a long way. My coworkers didn’t disappoint and they ate it up; one of them even stopped to tell me it reminded me of her late grandmother’s cake, but better. Ah, yes, food + memories = love.

Ingredients:

for the cake –

  • 1 lb. carrots (3 cups sliced)
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 1/3 cups oil (I used melted & cooled coconut oil, but you can use Canola/ Vegetable)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 8 oz. can crushed pineapple, drained (you won’t be able to taste it in the cake)
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut

for the praline sauce

  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 3 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

for the candied pecans –

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. orange juice
  • 1 cup pecans

for the cream cheese frosting –

  • 1 8oz package of cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 2-4 tbsp. milk

Preparation:

for the cake –

Cook carrots in boiling water until soft. Drain and chop; set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease, line with parchment paper, and grease again 3 9 inch round pans. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, create a crater, add eggs, vanilla, oil, & pineapple. Beat on low speed for 1 minute and then add chopped pecans, carrots, & coconut. Pour evenly amongst the 3 prepared pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes, but depending on how the oven cooks, start checking at 28 minutes. Remove from oven when toothpick inserted into the middle of each pan comes out clean. Allow cakes to cool, in pans, on cooling racks for 15-20 minutes before removing from pans to cool completely.

for the praline sauce –

In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar and cream, stirring until it comes to a full boil. Reduce heat to a gentle boil for 3 minutes. Stir occasionally, remove from stove, stir in vanilla and let cool.

for the candied pecans –

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease an 8 inch square pan. Combine brown sugar and orange juice, add pecan halves. Pour into pan and bake for 6 minutes, stir, and bake for another 6 minutes until nuts are brown and syrup is bubbly. Separate nuts on lightly greased baking sheet until cool.

for the cream cheese frosting –

Mix together the cream cheese, butter, cinnamon, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Gradually, add powdered sugar, one cup at a time, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl after each addition. Once all the powdered sugar has been added, add milk, one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.

Assemble the cake

Starting with the bottom layer of cake, spread one inch of frosting on the top. Pour half of the praline sauce on the cake, blending into the frosting. Repeat same steps with second layer of cake, pouring the remaining sauce on cake, and blending in. Top with final layer of cake, frost all over, and add candied pecans.

NOTES: This can be a lengthy process, albeit worth it, if done all in one day. I made the cakes the weekend before. Once they were completely cool, I wrapped them in plastic wrap, stored them in gallon size bags, and placed them in the freezer. I made the candied pecans the night before and finished the process the day of.

Sharing with everyone at http://fiestafriday.net/ and http://www.thecountrycook.net/

 

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12 Responses to Praline Carrot Cake

  1. Beautiful cake there with lovely flavors of Cartots and pecans!
    Thanks for sharing at FF!

  2. Happy Belated Birthday! And to all the family members as well. 4 birthdays in one week, wow! And I thought I have it tough with my kids’ birthdays 2 weeks apart 😄 But this cake! It looks wonderful! If I can’t have chocolate cake, then carrot cake will be my choice. It’s interesting that the carrots are cooked first. I’m going to have to try that! Thanks for sharing at Fiesta Friday!

    • Angie says:

      Thank you, Angie. Oh my! All of our birthdays aren’t in one week, that might do any one in. It’s 4 birthdays in 3 weeks. Thankfully, we have Spring birthdays and not Christmas birthdays 🙂

  3. This cake looks amazing! I love carrot cake and adding pecans sounds amazing!

  4. tentimestea says:

    Hmm, you’ve certainly convinced me with your description of the cake! From the spices to the nuts to the praline sauce, it sounds delicious and certainly an elaborate and worthwhile cake!

  5. OH.MY.STARS! This delectable dessert looks TO.DIE.FOR!! I am not a big fan of cake, but do so love carrot cake. This is amazing! Thanks so much for sharing with us at Weekend Potluck. We’d love it if you’d link back to the party within your post…it makes you eligible to be featured. =) Please come again soon.

  6. Mary says:

    Thanks so much for linking this wonderful Praline Carrot Cake recipe to Weekend Potluck! We hope to see you again at this week’s party – it’s already underway. Have a great weekend!

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