Spiced Carrot Layer Cake
Orange juice and zest, cinnamon, and ginger add verve and depth to this sumptuous cake.
Yield: serves 16-20
For the Carrot Cake
- 1 cup unsalted butter, plus more for pans
- 1 1⁄4 cups flour, plus more for pans
- 1 1⁄4 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 tbsp. baking powder
- 1 tbsp. baking soda
- 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp. ground ginger
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1⁄2 tsp. ground allspice
- 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
- 1⁄2 cup finely ground almonds
- 3 cups finely grated carrots
- 1 1⁄2 cups packed dark brown sugar
- 3 eggs, separated
- 1⁄2 cup plain yogurt
- 1⁄4 cup orange juice
- 1 tbsp. orange zest
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
For the Buttermilk Glaze and Cream Cheese Icing
- 12 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1⁄2 cup sugar
- 1⁄4 cup buttermilk
- 1 tbsp. light corn syrup
- 3⁄4 tsp. baking soda
- 1 1⁄2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1⁄2 cup mascarpone cheese
- 3 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese
- 2 tbsp. dark or spiced rum
- 1 tbsp. orange zest
- 1 (1-lb.) box confectioners' sugar
- 2 cups finely chopped walnuts
- Make cake: Heat oven to 350°. Butter and flour three 9" round baking pans; set aside. Heat butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat; cook until it browns. Chill until solid.
- In a bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder and soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and allspice. Finely grind coconut and almonds in a food processor. Combine nut mixture, carrots, and flour mixture; mix.
- In a bowl, beat together browned butter and brown sugar until fluffy, 1–2 minutes; beat in yolks one at a time. Add yogurt, juice, zest, and vanilla; beat. Add flour mixture; beat. Whisk egg whites to stiff peaks; fold into batter. Divide batter between pans; smooth tops with a spatula. Bake for 30–35 minutes. Let cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, make glaze and icing: In a 4-qt. pan, combine 4 tbsp. butter, sugar, buttermilk, syrup, and baking soda; boil. Cook until dark, 3–4 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in 1⁄2 tsp. vanilla. Spread glaze over each warm cake. Remove cakes from pans; transfer, glazed side up, to racks. Let cool.
- In a bowl, beat remaining butter, mascarpone, and cream cheese with a mixer until smooth. Add remaining vanilla, rum, zest, and sugar; beat. Chill. Spread 1 1⁄4 cups icing evenly over 2 cake layers; stack, top with remaining layer. Frost top and sides; press nuts onto sides. Chill before serving.