Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Lemon Zest Frosting
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup applesauce
3/4 cup canola oil
4 large eggs
3 cups grated carrots - 4 or 5 carrots
1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts
1 Tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Butter two 9 inch diameter cake pans, line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper, butter the paper, flour the inside of the pans and tap out the excess.
3. Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves in a medium bowl.
4. Whisk sugar, oil, applesauce in a large bowl and whisk in eggs, one at a time.
5. Add flour mixture and stir until blended.
6. Stir in carrots, nuts and grated ginger.
7. Divide batter between prepared pans and bake until tester inserted in the middle comes out clean - about 40 minutes - less in a convection oven.
8. Cool cakes in pans 15 minutes, turn out onto racks, peel off parchment paper, cool completely.
Cream Cheese Lemon Zest Frosting
Three - 8 ounce packages cream cheese - at room temperature
2 sticks (1 cup or 8 ounces) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 1/2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon good vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar - sifted
1. In a standing mixer whip the cream cheese and butter on medium high until combined and airy - about 2 minutes.
2. Mix in lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla.
3. Sift the powdered sugar and add slowly to mixer on low speed - try to keep it in the bowl!
4. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix until all combined.
5. If frosting is too soft, mix in some more sugar and refrigerate until you need to use it.
1. Cut each layer of the cake in half horizontally with a long serrated knife.
2. Lay the first layer on the cake plate, top with 1/2 cup icing spread to the edge. Top with second layer, spread icing and repeat with 3rd and 4th layers.
3. Cover top and sides of the cake with icing and refrigerate until serving.