Our Homemade Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting is everything you'd want in a carrot cake: mandarin oranges, coconut, pecans and of course, carrots. It has just the right touch of cinnamon, too.
It's best to prepare all ingredients before mixing the batter. This includes melting the butter, opening the canned mandarin oranges, grating the orange zest, chopping the pecans and grating the carrots. Though mini carrots are just the right size for eating, regular full-size carrots are best for this recipe. Larger carrots are much easier to grate.
Once the ingredients are prepped, heat the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, combine 1 cup melted butter, the brown sugar, sugar and eggs.
Beat on medium speed, scraping the bowl often, until smooth.
Add the mandarin oranges (do not drain the oranges as you want to add any liquid that the oranges are packed in, too), vanilla and orange zest.
Continue beating until well mixed. The oranges will break apart as you beat the mixture.
Now add the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.
Make sure you reduce the mixer to low speed so you don’t send flour flying all over the kitchen, and beat, scraping the bowl often, until well mixed.
By hand, gently stir in coconut, pecans and carrots until well mixed.
Pour into a greased and floured 13x9-inch baking pan.
Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool the cake completely. I usually place the cake on a cooling rack so the air will circulate and cool the cake more quickly.
When the cake is completely cooled, it’s time to make the cream cheese frosting. Combine all the frosting ingredients, except for the chopped pecans, in a medium bowl.
Beat at medium speed (start on slow, then slowly increase to medium so the powdered sugar won’t go flying all over), scraping the bowl often, until smooth and creamy. I think cream cheese frosting is simply beautiful–it’s so smooth and silky.
Frost the cooled cake by gently spreading the frosting.
Feel free to get a little fancy as you frost and create a design in the frosting by swirling it with the spreader. There is no right or wrong way to frost a cake–just have fun!
Now, sprinkle the chopped pecans over the frosting.
Voila! Homemade Carrot Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting–and it’s not just for birthdays.
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