Saturday, June 2, 2012

Lucinda's Birthday Cake

Lucinda loves carrot cake.  So of course a four layer carrot ginger cake with orange frosting was a must for her birthday! 

I knew right where to go for the recipe.  Martha Stewart.  No messing around today, let's get right down to it!

Carrot Ginger Layer Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
Martha Stewart Living April 1999

Serves 10 to 12

The Cake

Unsalted butter, for pans
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
1 cup chopped pecans
1 pound large carrots, peeled
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup nonfat buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375.  Butter and flour two 8x2 inch round cake pans.

Spread pecans on a baking sheet and set in oven to toast for about 7 minutes.  Trust your nose, if you can smell them take them out, even if they don't look done!  They will continue to toast a little from the heat of the pan after you have taken them out of the oven.

Turn the oven down to 300.  Set the pecans aside to cool.

Grate the carrots.  You could use a box grater.  Or you could speed the process up and use a food processor with a grater attachment.  I'd recommend the latter.

In a large bowl combine the grated carrots, eggs, buttermilk, sugar, vegetable oil and ginger.  Whisk until well combined.

In a small bowl mix together the dry ingredients.  Using a spatula fold together the wet and dry ingredients, when everything is combined fold in the toasted pecans.

Divide the batter evenly between the two cake pans.  Bake until a tester come out clean, about an hour.  Set the cakes, in pans, on wire racks to cool for 15 minutes.  Carefully turn the cakes out onto the wire racks to cool completely.

If you are making the cake the night before once it is completely cool wrap each layer carefully in plastic wrap and keep in the fridge.

And now for the frosting!

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
Martha Stewart Living April 1999

3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
3 bars (24 oz) cream cheese at room temperature
3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted (make sure you do this, you don't want lumpy frosting!)
1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger
Pinch of salt

Beat butter with a mixer, hand held or stand, on medium high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add the cream cheese and beat for at least another 2 minutes.  This is where a stand mixer comes in handy!  Add the sugar, salt, orange zest and ginger and beat for another 5 minutes.  Let it sit on the counter while you get the cakes ready.

Slice the cakes in half horizontally, so you'll have four layers, using a serrated knife.  If this makes you nervous you can use wooden skewers as guides.  Just slide them through the cake at the half way point and keep the knife resting on them as you cut through.

Set the first layer on a plate or cake stand.  I wanted to use my new cake stand for this but since I had to drive the cake to its destination and I didn't have a co-pilot I went for the blue plate.  Much more stable.  And it looked fabulous with the violets!

Spread about 3/4 of a cup of frosting on the first layer.  Stack the second layer of cake on top of the first and layer on another 3/4 of a cup of frosting.  Repeat the process with the next layer.  Place the final cake layer on top.  I always save the one that doesn't have any weird lumps or bumps or cracks in it for the top.  Cover the cake with the rest of the frosting.

The decorating is up to you.  I used 1 cup of toasted chopped pecans and some violets from my lawn/jungle/garden.  You could use any edible flower but I think violets, pansies or johnny jump-ups look the best.

 Cover the cake with the toasted pecans and violets.  Looks nice doesn't it? 

I wish I had gotten a good side view of the cake, it was at least 6 inches tall.  No joke.  But you'll just have to use your imagination.  Or better yet, bake one yourself!



  1. Wow! What an amazing looking carrot cake! My boyfriend would freak if I made this for him :)

  2. Thank you! If you make it you'll have to let me know what you think of the end result!