Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Candied Carrot Peels
There are lots of carrot cake recipes in the world, but I think this one is the best! It makes three layers, but sometimes I cut them in half to make six thin layers with frosting between each. I prefer a “naked cake” without frosting on the sides, but you can load it up with all the frosting you want, because it’s really delicious made with vanilla bean paste.
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
3 cups finely grated peeled carrots (1 pound)
3/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
4 cups powdered sugar
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
1 tbsp. vanilla paste
Candied Carrot Peels
Peels from 1 pound of multicolored carrots
2 cups Sugar
2 cups Water
Pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease three 9-inch round cake pans, and line each with a circle-shaped parchment paper. Using electric mixer, beat the sugar and vegetable oil until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add to sugar and oil mixture and combine. Stir in carrots and chopped pecans. Pour batter equally into three pans. Bake about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in pans and turn out cakes onto a rack to cool completely.
Using an electric mixer beat all ingredients together and frost cake.
Note: to make a better presentation, I often slice each layer horizontally, to make six layers. You’ll need to make a little more frosting, but it makes a beautiful cake!
Candied Carrot Peel:
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees. When peeling your carrots its important that they are thick, a peel too thin will fall apart while cooking. In order to achieve a thicker peel press a little harder with your vegetable peeler. Peel the outside of your carrots, if using multi colored carrots separate the peels into piles by color. Cooking all the peels at the same time if using multicolored carrots will turn all the peel a mulled purple color. Add 2 cups sugar and 2 cups water and a pinch of salt to a pot and bring to a simmer and cook until the sugar has dissolved. Add lightest (white colored carrot) peels to the pot and cook until the peels start to become translucent about 20- 30 minutes. Strain your peels from the syrup and gently lay out single file on a spat baking mat making sure not to let the peels touch. If your syrup starts to run low, before starting the next batch add half cup of sugar and half cup of water then cook to dissolve before continuing. Repeat the process with orange carrot peels then purple carrots last. Bake the peels for 45min-60min or until the edges start to lift from the mat. Turn the oven down to 100 degrees and bake until completely dry. This can take several hours depending on the thickness of your peel. Once dry, carefully lift candied peels and store in a airtight container or bag in a cool dry place until ready to use. Do not refrigerate or the peels will be come soggy. After icing each layer of the cake and the outside gently place carrot peels to decorate.