3cups(390 g) peeled and shredded carrots, slightly patted dry(about 6 large carrots)
Cream Cheese Frosting
2cups(two 8 ounce blocks or 450 g) cream cheese,room temperature
1/2cup(113 g) unsalted butter,room temperature
2 1/2cups(300 g) confectioners' sugar
1teaspoonpure vanilla extract
Chopped pecans for garnish(optional)
Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour three 6-inch round cake pans (or two 9-inch round cake pans). Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves.
In a large bowl, beat brown sugar, sugar, vegetable oil and applesauce until the oil is completely absorbed by the sugar (you can do this by hand, but a hand or stand mixer is easier). Add eggs and vanilla. Beat until incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
Add flour mixture to the wet ingredients. Stir by hand just until combined (it's okay if there are a few flour pockets). Add shredded carrots and stir until incorporated making sure to get any remaining flour bits mixed in.
Divide batter evenly among pans and bake at 350° F for 28 to 30 minutes, rotating pans halfway through. Cakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center of one of the cakes comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Run a butter knife around the edges of the pans and remove cakes. Let them cool completely on a wire rack.
Cream Cheese Frosting
Make sure your ingredients are room temperature. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add confectioners' sugar and mix until combined. Add vanilla and mix until incorporated.
If the cakes domed while baking, use a serrated knife to level off the cakes.
Frost the top of one of the cakes, then add a layer of cake on top. Repeat if you baked three layers. Now use an offset spatula or bench scraper to spread a thin layer of frosting around the sides and top of the cake. This will be the crumb coat. Place the cake in the freezer for 15 minutes to set.
Remove the cake from the freezer (the crumb coat should be harder and set). Again, use an offset spatula or bench scraper to spread frosting around the outside and top of the cake with remaining frosting. Garnish with chopped pecans if desired. Slice and serve.
Store carrot cake covered and in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.Freeze carrot cake (assembled) uncovered for 4 hours in the freezer. Remove from freezer, wrap the entire cake securely in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil. Freeze cake for up to one month. Defrost in the refrigerator before serving.Making this cake by hand: You don't need an electric mixer to make this cake, but it does make the job easier. Make sure your wet ingredients are thoroughly combined if making by hand.High altitude adjustments: Decrease both sugars by 2 tablespoons each. Decrease baking powder to 1 teaspoon. Do not pat the shredded carrots dry (you will need the extra moisture). Use a high-protein all purpose flour such as King Arthur or Trader Joe's.Recommended tools: