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Praline Carrot Cake

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  • 6 medium carrots
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
  • 6 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup flaked coconut

Praline Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Candied Pecan Halves

  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted


  1. Cake: Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a medium saucepan, cook carrots, covered, in a moderate amount of boiling water until very tender, about 20 minutes.
  3. Drain; cool slightly and chop in food processor, using several pulses, or coarsely mash with potato masher; there should be about 1 1/2 cups.
  4. Grease and lightly flour three 9-inch round cake pans; set aside.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, granulated sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  6. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients; add oil, eggs, pineapple and vanilla extract. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed, about one minute, to combine all ingredients.
  7. Fold in the pecans, coconut and mashed carrots.
  8. Spread batter evenly into prepared pans. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  9. Cool on wire racks for 10 minutes before loosening edges and removing from pans.
  10. Cool cakes thoroughly on wire racks.
  11. While cake is baking and cooling, prepare Praline Sauce, Candied Pecan Halves and Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting.
  12. Praline Sauce: In a small saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter.
  13. Add the brown sugar and cream. Cook and stir until mixture comes to a full boil. Reduce heat and boil gently over entire surface for three minutes, stirring occasionally.
  14. Stir in vanilla extract; cool.
  15. Candied Pecan Halves: Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  16. Combine brown sugar and orange juice.
  17. Add pecan halves, stirring to coat.
  18. Spread in a lightly greased 8-inch square baking pan.
  19. Bake for 12 minutes or until nuts are browned and syrup is bubbly, stirring once. Pour out onto a lightly greased baking sheet, separating into single nuts.
  20. Cool on wire rack.
  21. Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting: In a large mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese, butter, cinnamon and vanilla extract until light and fluffy.
  22. Gradually add about half the confectioners' sugar, beating well.
  23. Gradually beat in enough of the remaining confectioners' sugar to reach spreading consistency.
  24. Assembly: Place one of the cooled cake layers, top down, on cake plate. Use about 1 cup of the frosting to pipe or spoon a rim about an inch wide and half-inch high around outer edge of cake layer. Spoon about 2 tablespoons frosting in the center 1 1/2 inches of that layer, leaving an unfrosted area or ring. Spoon and spread about half of the Praline Sauce into the ring (sauce will not fill ring).
  25. Add a second cake layer, top down, and repeat frosting and sauce as above.
  26. Add final cake layer, top up. Frost top and sides of layers with remaining frosting. Garnish top with candied pecan halves.
  27. Store cake in refrigerator.

Yield: 16 servings