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Nude Carrot Cake with Brown Butter Frosting

naked carrot cake with candied carrot rosettes and carrot leaves on a wood and white platter

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3-layer carrot cake made with pureed carrots, cinnamon, shredded carrots, a hint of pineapple, and more! This cake is the perfect dessert for Easter, spring celebrations, summer, and birthdays.

Ingredients

Units Scale

For the Nude Carrot Cake Layers

  • 360 g all-purpose flour
  • 420 g granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 Tbs cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 16 oz puree baby food carrots, organic
  • 100 g canned pineapple tidbits or chunks
  • 35 g finely grated carrots
  • 315 ml (1 1/3 c) canola oil
  • 4 large eggs, room temp, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

For the Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 oz cream cheese, cold
  • 56 g unsalted butter, browned (1/4 c)
  • 56 g unsalted butter, cold but slightly soft
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 500 g powdered sugar

Candied Carrot Rosettes

  • 12 large carrots
  • 237 ml water
  • 200 g granulated sugar
  • Chopped pecans, walnuts, other nuts, or graham cracker crumbs for garnish

Instructions

To Make the Carrot Cake Batter

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, then spray three 8-inch round cake pans with nonstick spray and line them with parchment rounds.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, stir flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together. 
  3. Place pineapple in a blender and blend for 10 seconds. Press the pineapple through a fine mesh strainer to remove as much juice as possible. You should have approximately 30 grams of pineapple pulp left after removing the juice. Set aside.
  4. Next, place finely shredded carrots on a paper towel, wrap the paper towel around the carrots, and squeeze/press to remove excess juice. 
  5. In a medium bowl, add pineapple pulp, pureed carrots, shredded carrots, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk to combine.
  6. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir with a spatula until combined. Be gentle while stirring so you don’t overmix the gluten. 
  7. Divide the batter evenly between the 3 pans, approximately 575 grams per pan. When weighing ingredients, set a cake pan on the scale, set to zero, and then add the cake batter.
  8. Bake for 20 – 23 minutes or until the tops of the cakes spring back when you touch them. If your finger leaves a slight dent on top of the cakes, then they still need to cook 1-3 minutes longer.
  9. Allow cakes to cool for 10 minutes, then turn them out onto cooling racks. Cool completely (approx. 2 hours) before frosting the cakes so that the frosting doesn’t melt.

Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Brown the butter in a small saucepan on medium heat. Stir occasionally for the first 3-5 minutes, and then stir continuously once the butter begins to smell nutty. Remove from heat once the milk solids have browned, and pour into a bowl to cool until the butter solidifies at room temperature (approx. 2 hours)
  2. Cream the cream cheese, brown butter, and regular butter together with a stand mixer and paddle attachment. Add vanilla and mix.
  3. Add the powdered sugar in 4-5 additions, mix on medium low each time. Once all the powdered sugar has been added, turn the mixer to medium and mixer for 3-5 minutes.
  4. The icing is best sued when it’s freshly whipped. Refrigerate the icing if you make it ahead of time, then rewhip the frosting to bring it back to the correct consistency.

To Make the Candied Rosettes

  1. Peel a large carrot with a vegetable peeler so you have long, flat carrot strips. You will neet at least 10, but it’s best to make extras so you can use the best ones.
  2. Add sugar and water to a small or medium saucepan, stir one, then bring to a boil on high heat.
  3. When the syrup begins to boil, turn the heat to medium-low, add carrots, and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat, and pour into another pot or glass bowl. This will help to cool the carrots and syrup quicker. 
  5. When the carrots are cool enough to handle, take a carrot strip, remove excess syrup with your fingers, and roll the carrot strip into a rosette.
  6. Repeat with the remaining carrot strips and set the rosettes aside to finish cooling.

Assembling the Nude Carrot Cake

  1. Trim off the tops of the cakes if they are domed. Next, place your cake plate or cardboard round on a rotating cake stand. then place a small smear of frosting on your cake plate (or cardboard round). and put your first cake layer in the center.Add about ¼ of the frosting or a little less on top of the first cake and smooth out to cover the surface of the cake.
  2. Add about 1/4 of the frosting on top of the cake and smooth to cover the surface of the cake.
  3. Add the next cake layer, repeat with the frosting, and then add the final cake layer. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting (you may not need all of it).
  4. Use a bench scraper to smooth and remove the excess frosting from the sides of the cake. Do this until you can see the cake peaking through to give it a naked look.
  5. Add chopped nuts, candied rosettes, and garnish as desired.
  6. Refrigerate cake if not serving within 2 hours. This cake is best eaten within four days, but it wil last up to one week. (See notes in post about freezing and storing).

Notes

This is a Baker Street Society original recipe.