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Tomorrow the calendar flips over to April, and that means that Easter is right around the corner. Since Meghan and I have been put in charge of holiday desserts, it is time to figure out if I can put together a carrot cake. Thankfully, my new Food Network magazine is here, and it has a carrot cake recipe. Since practice makes perfect, tonight is dry run #1 (Note: I am not against making a dessert for a holiday as my first attempt, and I must admit, most have been highly successful)
Ingredients for the cakes:
To bring out some great flavor in the pecans, put them on a baking sheet and bake for 5-10 minutes at 350F. Allow to cool, then using a food processors pulse until they are finely chopped.
In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients: chopped pecans, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and sugar. Mix until combined.
In another bowl combine the wet ingredients: oil, eggs, lemon zest, orange marmalade. Whisk to combine. Fold in the carrots.
Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.
Brush 3 9″ cake pans with vegetable oil. Divide the batter between the 3 pans. Cook 2 pans on the top rack and one the lower rack for 12 minutes. Switch the pans and bake another 12 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool (I wait about 3 hours before frosting the cakes).
Ingredients for the frosting:
In the bowl of a mixer, combine the cream cheese and butter (both need to be at room temperature to ensure that they can be combined easily). Add 1/2 the sugar and mix. Add the other half of the sugar, salt, vanilla extract and lemon juice. Beat on low speed to combine, scrapping down the bowl a couple of times.
Now to put the cake together!
Cut 4 pieces of parchment paper and place around the edge of a cake pedestal. In the middle of the pedestal place a small dollop of frosting. Place the first layer of the cake. Cover the cake with a thin layer of marmalade, then cover with frosting. Repeat with the second layer of cake. Add the top layer of cake and put a thin layer of frosting. Place the cake in the fridge to allow the frosting to set (since this was take one, we only waited about 5 minutes. But for the real run, we will wait at least 30 minutes). Add a second layer of frosting on the top of the cake, as well as frosting the sides of the cake. Top the cake with about 1/2 a cup of chopped pecans.
Now it is time to taste the cake.