Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting
Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting is the perfect Easter (or anytime) dessert - subtly spiced and topped with a rich vanilla bean cream cheese frosting! *total time includes cooling period, making your frosting, and icing the cake!
Prepare your 8 inch round cake pans using a non-stick cooking spray or greasing them and coating in flour (which is our preferred method, when saving time we use the baking spray from Wilton called 'Bake Easy').
In a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer, combine coconut oil, eggs, vanilla extract and whisk to combine.
Add the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, spices (ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground nutmeg), dried orange peel, and salt then combine thoroughly.
Add the unsweetened applesauce and grated carrots, stir until all of the carrots are moistened and evenly distributed in the wet batter.
Add the all-purpose flour and stir until just combined, do not over-mix the carrot cake batter. Batter will be wet slash runny and lumpy.
Pour batter into prepared cake pans, distributing the batter evenly between the two cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 25-28 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and allow the cakes to cool slightly in the pain before inverting them to transfer to a wire cooling rack. Allow the carrot cake layers to cool completely before frosting them.
Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting
In a large bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the cream cheese and (softened, room temperature) butter with a hand mixer or your stand mixer.
Add vanilla bean paste and confectioners sugar (you can add all at once, but I like to add about half, combine the ingredients, then add the remaining half and combine until done). *If your frosting is too runny, add more confectioners sugar. If it is too firm to spread easily on your cake, then drizzle some heavy cream in gradually until you achieve your desired consistency.
Assembling your Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting
If necessary, cut any excess 'dome' from the tops of your layers so that the cake layers are even. Stack your cake with the first layer face down, giving you a nice, smooth surface to work with.
On the first cake layer, add enough frosting for a roughly ¼ inch layer (more or less, depending on your preference) and smooth to the edges of the cake layer using a straight or offset spatula.
Stack the second cake layer and add more frosting (for a thicker top layer) and spread evenly over the top. Spread a thin layer on the sides and scrape evenly for a semi-exposed 'naked' look, if desired.
Place walnuts in a ziplog bag and crush slightly, sprinkle the walnuts on the top center of frosted cake.