This carrot cake is a delight! It is jam packed with carrots, pineapple, coconut, and pecans. Sounds great, right? However, for me, it is the frosting that steals the show. The frosting is amazing! That subtle hint of brown sugar really comes through. This cake was a big hit with a group of friends. I hope that you enjoy it too!
Carrot Cake with Buttermilk Glaze and Cinnamon-Cream Cheese Frosting
2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups coarsely grated peeled carrots
1-1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple in juice
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, diced
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 8-ounce packages Philadelphia-brand cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1-pound box powdered sugar
2 tablespoons (packed) brown sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
CAKE: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Brush 13x9x2-inch metal baking pan with vegetable oil; dust with flour. Whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in medium bowl. Beat sugar, eggs, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla in large bowl until smooth. Beat in dry ingredients, Fold in carrots, coconut, pineapple with juice, and pecans. Transfer batter to prepared pan. (I used 4 medium carrots and 1 large carrot to get the 2 cups of grated carrot, but I would say that 2-3 large carrots will do the trick.)
Bake cake 30 minutes. Tent loosely with foil. Continue to bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 15 minutes longer. Remove from oven. Using bamboo skewer, poke deep holes all over cake. (I used a cake pop stick to make my holes.)
GLAZE: Meanwhile, bring sugar, buttermilk, butter, corn syrup, and baking soda to boil in large saucepan (This is very important because the baking soda causes the mixture to expand and become very puffy and it will overflow if you use a smaller pan. I am definitely speaking from experience.), stirring until sugar dissolves. Boil until glaze is deep amber color, whisking often, 3 to 4 minutes (glaze will thin out when almost done). Remove from heat; mix in vanilla.
Spoon hot glaze evenly over warm cake. Cool cake completely in pan.
FROSTING: Beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until fluffy. Add powdered sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon; beat until blended. Spread frosting over cooled cake in pan.
DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.