Aside from being a full-time Realtor Momma, I *love* to cook and bake. I attended Culinary School in my younger years at Fleming College in Peterborough, and went on to study professional Baking at George Brown College in Toronto. I love to cook and bake every day, so I offered to make my pal Meg her wedding cake. I’ve made one wedding cake before, a raisin spice cake for my gal pal Christine last fall. I created that recipe myself, so I created this recipe as a variation, using other carrot cake recipes I’ve loved as inspiration. My recipes rarely come from nothing – I find recipes online or in books or magazines, and tweak them to my taste. I decided to go all-in for Meg & Andy – walnuts, coconut, pineapple AND raisins. Go big or go home I say – but the truth is all of these are optional based on your idea of what carrot cake should be. (Don’t remove the pineapple though without subbing in more apple sauce for batter consistency).
So today, I’m spending a lovely June afternoon making a 3 tiered wedding carrot cake for my delightful future clients, Meg & Andy! <3 Their wedding is tomorrow, at home in their garden, and it will be wonderful.
(aren’t they the cutest??)
Although I created this recipe to be a wedding cake, it can easily make 3x 8″ cake layers, which when stacked up, would make an impressive dinner party dessert or birthday cake. I served it at a lovely luncheon this past spring when Meg & Andy came to tea, and they approved this recipe for their wedding. But for now, I’,m making 3 different sized cakes with each batch. Two batches will yield the 6 cakes I need to assemble!
Let’s get started:
(scroll to very bottom for a printable recipe without photo instructions)
Assemble all cake ingredients and have on hand: one XL mixing bowl, a small bowl, and two regular mixing bowls, measuring cups and spoons, a spatula, a whisk, and a grater.
Grate peeled and washed carrots until you yield 6 loosely packed cups of shreds. I use an electric grater set on a fine grate to yield consistent, small strips of carrot. A box grater will do the job, but is more uneven. It’ll taste the same, but is not as pleasant to me. I got this lil buddy in a Secret Santa exchange one Christmas and I love it. Grating things is my absolute enemy, so I use this bub often.
Aren’t these wee shreds perfect? I’d say this was about 8 small-med fresh carrots. After grating the carrots in to a bowl (or hotel pan as seen here), add 1 cup packed light brown sugar.
In a small bowl, add one cup sultana or thompson raisins. Then add a cup of hot water. I use my Keurig, cuz it’s fast. I make oatmeal and everything in this baby. If you take up real-estate on my counter you better serve double-duty. This step isn’t 100% necessary, but it takes only a moment, and helps to plump up and jucify the raisins. They’re not currants, they should be plump and moist. They only have to sit in the water for one minute, then drain the water off.
Add the drained raisins to the carrots and sugar, and stir it up to coat the carrots in sugar. Cover this with plastic wrap and leave on the counter while you work on the rest. It should ideally sit about 30-60 mins, so have a coffee break if you want.
Get out that XL mixing bowl I mentioned. Crack in 4 whole large eggs and whisk 20 seconds until smooth. Add 1.5 cups of white granulated sugar.
Then add 2 tsp of the best quality vanilla that you can find. I usually use Madagascar Bourbon vanilla and it makes a world of difference. Don’t ever spend even $1 on imitation vanilla. Just don’t. Pure only. It’s worth the money. Trust. (This bottle was $20, but tastes like heaven in everything I make.) Gently whisk in your liquid heaven. Add 1 cup of vegetable oil, and whisk in. No need to be violent. No whipping needed.
Add one cup of canned, crushed pineapple. Now we’re talking. It smells so damn good.
Set the wet ingredients aside. In a clean bowl, add 3 cups all purpose flour, 1.5 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp. salt, 1.5 tbsp. ground cinnamon, 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice. Optional – add 1 cup chopped walnuts, and 2/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut. I say go for it. Whisk together to combine.
Ok, now it’s time to pull it all together. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet while stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula until combined. No need to overmix, this is not an airy cake, it’s pretty dense batter. Now grab those carrots.
Before and After. The carrot mixture was pretty dry before their nap, afterwards, they’ve accumulated a sugary syrup. Add all of the carrot mix, liquid included in to the batter. Add 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce to really bring the moistness level up.
Now it’s time to prep your pans. Generously spray 3x 8″ cake pans with PAM for baking. (It has oil and flour in it) or grease your pans well. Bake these babies for 35 minutes in a 350 degree F oven. Use a toothpick in the centre to check for doneness.
Allow to cool in pans for 30 minutes, and turn out on to cooling racks. I freeze the cakes until my frosting is ready, or overnight. Frozen cakes are so much easier to frost, just be sure they have time to thaw completely before serving.
For the wedding cake – the 6″ cake baked for 32 mins, 8″ for 35 mins, and 10″ for 45 minutes. You will need to make two batches of this recipe to complete a small wedding cake with 3 double layer cakes. The cakes don’t have peaks after cooling, but if you’re stacking, make sure to cut/level the cakes to a consistent height for easy stacking, and level, even height tiers.
Here is how it turned out as a wedding cake! Congrats Meg and Andy! Your wedding was *amazing*.
Here’s the condensed recipe:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
6 cups grated carrots
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sultana raisins
4 large eggs
1.5 cups white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup crushed pineapple with the juices
3 cups all purpose flour
1.5 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 cup chopped walnuts
2/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1. Add raisins to 1 cup of hot water to moisten. Allow to sit one minute and drain.
2. Grate carrots and add brown sugar and raisins, stir to combine.
3. Cover and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
4. In a XL mixing bowl, crack eggs, whisk gently. Add white sugar, whisk gently.
5. Add vanilla, vegetable oil, and crushed pineapple, stirring to combine.
6. In a clean bowl, combine dry ingredients including nuts and coconut and stir to combine.
7. Slowly add dry ingredients to the wet, folding the mixture to combine.
8. Add the carrot mixture with all the liquid.
9. Add apple sauce, and stir gently until completely combined.
10. Grease pans well with PAM baking spray. Divide the batter in the pans – recipe makes 3x 8″ cakes, OR 1x 6″+ 1x 8″ + 1x 10″ for a wedding cake. If making a wedding cake, you’ll need to double the recipe to make two layers of each size for stacking.
11. Bake for the following times: 6″ – 32 minutes, 8″ – 35 minutes, 10″ – 45 minutes.
12. Cool for 30 minutes in pan and remove on to a wire cooling rack.
13. Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting! Enjoy!