It’s my Birthday Week! We all have that go-to dessert that we request every year for our birthday. Mine, hands down, is carrot cake! I decided to give my absolute favorite cake an up-grade, as if that is possible, and make myself the ULTIMATE carrot cake.
I present to you, a beautifully moist (don’t let that word bother you) and decadent layered Carrot Cake with Mascarpone Buttercream Frosting and Candied Carrot Curls.
Interestingly enough, while this is my favorite cake, I have never made it myself. My mom and aunts always make it for me every year, but something about making it for myself has always been intimidating. Maybe it’s because I didn’t want to be disappointed and ruin the idea of its greatness. Who knows?
BUT man am I happy I made this cake. Not only did the recipe turn out absolutely incredible, but with a few tricks, I was able to make it Friday night and serve it Monday night. It tasted like it was freshly baked and I will teach you why in the recipe. I was blessed to be able to share it with a group of friends and we demolished it. I even impressed myself.
Thirty-one. I always wondered if I would be boring when I was in my thirties. Like if I would lose my silliness and sense of humor. While I have matured, I love that I am still goofy and spontaneous in my old age.
Take this photo shoot for example. I had an absolute blast making this cake, setting up the scene and taking shot after shot of myself with my cake. It was hilarious and fun. Who cares if I am thirty, I still know how to kick back and be silly. Ready for the recipe?
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon cardamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Bread Flour, like King Arthur
- 3 cups shredded carrots, use a food processor
- 1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
mascarpone buttercream frosting
- 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 8 ounces softened mascarpone cheese
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 to 2 tablespoons whipping cream
candied carrot curls
- 1-2 large peeled carrots
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- dusting sugar, optional
- To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line one 9″ x 13″ pan with parchment paper.
- Beat together the oil, sugar, salt, eggs, spices, and baking soda in a stand mixer. Add the flour, stirring until well blended. Add the carrots and nuts, and mix until just blended. Pour evenly into the prepared pan. Smooth it out with a spatula.
- Bake the cake for 35 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs clinging to it.
- Allow the cake to cool completely. Use a round 6-inch cake cutter to cut out 4 circles. If you want 5 layers, save the scraps. Or if you are like me, eat the scraps while you frost the rest of the cake!
- Make the frosting: In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, mix together sugar, butter and cheese. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes. Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for spreading consistency.
- Cake Assembly: Place cake ring in the center of a sheet pan lined with clean parchment or a baking mat. Use 1 strip of acetate to line the inside of the cake ring. Tape the acetate so that it stands up like a cylinder. Put the cake scraps together inside the ring and use the back of your hand to tamp the scraps together into a flat even layer.
- Use the back of a spoon to spread 3-4 spoonfuls of frosting in an even layer over the cake. With your index finger, tuck the second strip of acetate between the cake ring and the top 1/4 inch of the first strip of acetate, so that you have a clear ring of acetate 5–6 inches tall—high enough to support the height of the finished cake. Tape the seam together.
- Set a cake round on top of the frosting and add 3-4 spoonfuls of frosting in an even layer. Repeat until all layers are piled up with frosting. Cover the top of the cake layer with the remaining frosting, making it a flat top. Add chopped nuts onto the top of the cake.
- Transfer the sheet pan to the freezer and freeze for a minimum of 12 hours to set the cake and filling. The cake will keep in the freezer for up to 2 weeks. At least 3 hours before serving the cake, pull the sheet pan out of the freezer and, using your fingers and thumbs, pop the cake out of the cake ring. Gently peel off the acetate and transfer the cake to a platter or cake stand. Let it defrost in the fridge for a minimum of 3 hours.
- Make the Candied Carrot Curls: Preheat oven to 225°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and lightly grease with cooking spray. Remove 15 to 20 long strips from carrots, using a vegetable peeler. (Strips will get wider as you get close to the core of the carrot.) Bring 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar to a boil in a large heavy-duty saucepan over medium-high heat. Add carrot strips, and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer carrot strips 15 minutes. Drain in a wire-mesh strainer, and cool 5 minutes. Spread cooked carrot strips 1 inch apart in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Bake at 225° for 30 minutes. As the carrot strips bake, they will begin to look translucent. Remove from oven. Working quickly, wrap each carrot strip around the handle of a wooden spoon, forming curls. Gently slide off spoon. Sprinkle with sugar, if desired. Let curls sit at room temperature until completely dry (about 30 minutes).
- Serve the cake with candied carrot curls on top!