The first birthday cake we made for our oldest son Sam, was carrot cake. It was made from scratch, and had cream cheese frosting. He proceeded to smear it all over his face and hair, and managed to get a few bites in.
Both of our son’s, Sam, and Nicholas are big fans of Bruce’s Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting. They didn’t used to be coconut fans, but the last few times he has made them, he had a few topped with toasted coconut. There is something that transports coconut to a new level when you toast it. First, the entire house smells delicious. Then, I try not to get my hand slapped as I sneek some of the toasty delicious crunchiness, while he is still preparing the cupcakes.
What we do know is the combination of the toasty coconut, creamy frosting, and the moist carrot cake is pure heaven. Our oldest son, Sam, is not even a raisin fan, but he loves these.
Ingredients for carrot cake (or cupcakes)
- 2 2/3 cups sugar
- 1 2/3 cup oil, plus 2 Tablespoons
- 3 teaspoons pure vanilla
- 4 eggs
- 2 2/3 cups flour
- 4 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 2/3 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 4 cups grated carrots
- 1 1/2 cup raisins
- 1 1/2 cup chopped pecans
For the Frosting:
- 3 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
- 3 sticks of butter, softened
- 5 teaspoons vanilla
- 11 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 8 oz bag of shredded sweetened coconut
- 1 1/2 cup chopped pecans
Directions for toasting coconut and pecans:
- Pre heat oven to 300 F.
- Spread coconut onto a sheet pan. Spread chopped pecans onto another sheet pan.
- Put pans into 300 F for 20 minutes, stirring half way.
- Place back in oven, checking every few minutes to stir, being careful not to burn coconut
- When golden brown, remove from sheet pan to cool on parchment paper
To make cake or cupcake batter:
- Turn oven up to 325 F
- Shred carrots, set aside
- Chop Pecans, set aside
- Sift dry ingredients into a bowl, set aside
- Beat the sugar, oil, and vanilla in mixer till fluffy
- Add eggs, 1 at a time
- With mixer on low speed add half dry ingredients, mix well
- Add the grated carrots, raisins, and pecans, to the wet mix, mixing to just combined
- Add balance of dry ingredients, mix gently
- Line cake pans with baking spray, and parchment and spray again. Or line cupcake pan with paper liners (we use the tall kind, in order to support plenty of frosting!)
- Bake cakes for 35 minutes, turning half way thru, and checking with a toothpick to come out dry. Ovens vary, so it may take a little longer.
- For cupcakes bake for 11 minutes, rotate, then another 11, ovens vary.
- Check to see if toothpick comes out clean, if not cook at 3 minute intervals till toothpick comes out clean
- Cool on rack
- Cream the cream cheese, butter & vanilla till fluffy.
- Add Sugar a few cups at a time, continuing to beat.
- If frosting is too soft, allow to set in fridge a few minutes.
- Using a cake leveler, or a sharp knife, cut off the rounded tops of each cake, to create a flat surface.
- Spread frosting onto first layer, and continue to place cakes on top. At this point, set the cake carefully in the fridge, to allow the middle frosting to set up, for at least 20 minutes.
- Remove cake from fridge and complete frosting the top and sides.
- While frosting is still slightly soft, add chopped nuts to top of the cake.
- Using small handfuls, add toasted coconut to sides of cake. This may take a few times until you get it to completely stick.
- Keep cake in fridge for up to a week. Be sure to let cake set out for 30 minutes to 1 hour before serving, for best texture and taste.
Or Assemble cupcakes:
- Using piping bag, pipe cream cheese frosting in a swirl pattern over each cupcake
- Sprinkle cupcakes with toasted coconut and toasted nuts. Make a variety of some plain, some with both, and some with just nuts or coconut.
This recipe will make a triple layer 7 inch cake, double layer 9 inch cake, or 2 1/2 dozen cupcakes.
- Category: dessert
- Cuisine: american
Keywords: carrot cake cupcakes