Mrs. Regueiro's Plate: Tropical Carrot Cake with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

Monday, March 23, 2009

Tropical Carrot Cake with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

This past weekend was filled with wonderful food and lots of cooking for me. I'm soooooo exhausted of all the food prep that went into making the Bobby Flay dinner. However, the biggest highlight of my cooking was the dessert that I made for my husband: Tropical Carrot Cake. I found this recipe from Delicious Meliscious because she made it for her birthday, and I fell in love with it right away. My husband is very finicky on carrot cake...because it's his favorite cake, and he got 2nd place at his work for baking his Carrot cake using Alton Brown's recipe.

This was my first time baking a carrot cake, and it's going to be a recipe I'll be using everytime!!!!!!! Hands down, this is the best cake ever, everyone fell in love with it, and my husband told me that it was the best cake he's ever had! It's so moist, and tasty - the pineapple and coconut and macadamia give the cake a fresh balance of flavors. I toasted the coconut, put some extra nuts all around the was so pretty! It's just a perfect cake, that I'm creating a new category for my best recipes ever. This is the first one to go in, and I found the cutest candles to put on the cake, too!
Tropical Coconut Cake with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
1 cup macadamia nuts (I recommend chopping these up or crushing them)
3 cups all purpose flour
3 cups sugar
1 tbsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
1 ½ cups sweetened flaked coconut
4 large eggs
2 tbsp vanilla
1 ½ cups vegetable oil, such as canola or safflower
1 ½ cups shredded peeled carrots
1 ½ cups diced fresh pineapple or drained crush canned pineapple (this is one 20 oz. can)
1/2 cup sweetened cream of coconut, such as Coco Lopez *Located in your liquor aisle*
Coconut-Cream Cheese Frosting
3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
¼ cup heaving whipping cream
¼ cup sweetened cream of coconut, such as Coco Lopez
½ tsp salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Arrange the nuts on a baking sheet in a single layer and toast them for 7 to 9 minutes, until golden and aromatic. Set aside to cool.
2. Place one oven rack one-third from the bottom of the oven and the second two-thirds from the bottom. Line three 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper rounds, grease with butter, and dust with flour (or spray with Baker’s Joy).
3. Stir together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, coconut, and nuts in a large bowl. In another large bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, oil, carrots, pineapple, and cream of coconut. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir until combined.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans. Stagger the cake layers on the oven racks so that no layer is directly over another. Set 2 layers on one rack and the third on the other. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.
5. The cakes are done when they are golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their pans on racks for 5 minutes, then invert them onto the racks and cool completely, about 15 to 20 minutes.

To Make the Frosting:
1. Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar in a large bowl on medium-high speed about 1 minute. Add the whipping cream, cream of coconut, and salt; beat until combined.
2. Place 1 cake layer on a serving plate and spread a thick blanket of frosting on top. Add the second layer, spread thickly with frosting, and top with the third layer. Cover the top and sides of the cake with an even layer of frosting.
Sidenote*Take a look at the how to guide for layering a cake.* After the cake has cooled, use a sharp serrated knife long enough to cut the cake layer.Sometimes when you bake a cake, the edges end up a little crusty, or the middle part is higher than the rest of the cake. **But you'll get to eat the leftovers, best way to sample your dish!**

3. Cover the top and sides of the cake with an even layer of frosting. The cake can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated up to 4 days. If you’re feeling energetic and there is frosting left over, use a pastry bag fitted with a decorative tip to pipe a decoration around the top rim of the cake.
4. Let it cool in the refrigerator about 1 hour before covering, to ensure the frosting has hardened and will not stick to the plastic wrap.
Yield: 12-14 Servings.

Seriously, hands down the best carrot cake or cake in general....I'll be making this for Mother's Day again. I can't wait!!!!
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