I have always loved carrot cake. I have used many recipes over the years, so I took the best part of each one and made it even better. This Carrot Cake with White Chocolate – Cream Cheese Icing is very moist because of the mandarin oranges soaked in rum. I love cream cheese icing, but, I am not fond of powdered sugar in the frosting, so I made a white chocolate-cream cheese icing instead. It is so great to work with and I love how it tastes with the carrot cake.
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Bake Time: 40 minutes
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoons Apple Pie Spice (I use King Arthur Flour’s, it has cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice)
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
1 ¼ cup safflower or canola oil
3 cups carrots, lightly packed, trimmed, peeled and coarsely grated
8 ounces mandarin oranges, drained
3 tablespoons dark rum
1 cup chopped pecans (optional), plus 1 cup lightly toasted for garnish
White Chocolate-Cream Cheese Icing (see recipe below)
Preheat oven to 350° F. Position the rack to the middle of the oven. Butter or spray the bottom and sides of two 9-inch round cake pans, and line the bottom with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and Apple Pie Spice. Set aside. In a small bowl, add the drained mandarin oranges and add the rum to soak. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand-up mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the sugar and on the lowest speed, add 1 egg until smooth and incorporated. Add the remaining eggs, one at a time, and mix on low until smooth and incorporated. Shut off the mixer and scrape down the bowl and paddle.
- Return the mixer to low and add the oil in a thin steady stream and continue to beat until fully mixed.
- Add the flour mixture a little at a time, just until mixed. Add the carrots, rum soaked mandarin oranges and the nuts (nuts optional). Do not over-mix.
- Divide the batter between the prepared pans and smooth the tops.
- Bake until the cakes are firm and risen, and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. About 40 minutes.
- Transfer to a wire rack to let cool in the pans for 5 minutes.
- Invert the cakes onto the rack and peel off the parchment paper. Use another rack or a large plate to invert the cakes so they are right side up. Let the cakes cool completely.
- Once the cakes have cooled completely, make the icing.
White Chocolate-Cream Cheese Icing:
Makes: About 2 ½ cups, or enough to ice 14-16 cupcakes or frost an 8-inch or 9-inch cake.
Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
8 ounces white chocolate (I used Ghirardelli White Chocolate)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pinch of fine sea salt
- Chop the white chocolate and melt in a double boiler over barely simmering water or in a microwave in 15-to-20 second increments, until barely softened.
- Stir the chocolate until it is smooth. (White chocolate can overheat quickly, so keep the time short.) Let the chocolate cool to room temperature.
- In a standup mixer with the paddle attachment, on medium speed, cream the butter and cream cheese until it is very smooth and light, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl as needed to blend evenly.
- Add the chocolate, vanilla extract, and salt; continue to mix until very smooth, 1-2 minutes more.
- Use the icing immediately or transfer the icing to a storage container, cover tightly, and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. Before using, allow the refrigerated icing to soften slightly and use the paddle attachment of a standup mixer to whip the icing until it is soft, smooth and spreadable.