We’re halfway through July now, which means we’re that much closer to Fall (my fave season), and I really could not be happier. We’re still in summer mode, so I’m not going to bust out the pumpkin recipes just yet. But I thought it would be a great time to do a seasonal transition cake of sorts, using those fresh carrots from your garden or local farmers market and pairing them with the comforting Fall flavors of maple to make this delicious Maple Caramel Carrot Cake. Two layers of really moist carrot cake frosted with the best caramel cream cheese frosting ever and topped with plenty of salted caramel sauce. Toasted pecans also bring a great texture and flavor and I suggest not to skip them.
This Caramel Carrot Cake is easy to make, tastes amazing and looks impressive too! It will definitely be the star of any party or holiday dinner you bring it to. So without further ado here’s the recipe.
Carrot Cake Batter:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
12 oz finely grated carrot
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
1 1/4 cups oil
2 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 tsp (5g) salt
1 tsp (5g) vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 1/4 cup whipping cream, 35%fat, chilled
17 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup caramel sauce
remaining caramel sauce
To make the carrot cake layers:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour two 9 inch (23 cm) round cake pans. Line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer combine oil and both sugar. Beat until well combined. Add eggs one at a time, fully incorporating after each addition until creamy and lighter in color.
Gradually mix in flour mixture.
Add the grated carrot and toasted pecans and use a spatula to mix well until combined.
Divide the batter evenly into the prepared pans.
Bake for about 30-35 minutes. Check that the middle of the cake is cooked by piecing it with a skewer or knife.
Place cakes on a wire rack to cool for 10 mins then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the caramel sauce:
Place the sugar and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over med-high heat. Do not stir at any point.
Reduce heat to medium and simmer until sugar dissolves and gets a caramel color.
Take the pan off the heat and pour in the cream. Cook, stirring regularly with a wooden spoon for about 1 minute, until smooth. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter and salt until smooth.
Pour into a small jar and leave it aside to cool.
To make the frosting:
Beat the cream cheese in a bowl until smooth. Add powdered sugar and 1/3 cup of caramel sauce.
Whisk the cream in another bowl until stiff peaks form.
Gradually pour into the cream cheese mixture and lightly fold until well combined.
Assemble the cake:
Place one layer of cake on a cake stand or serving plate. Top with a bit less than half of the frosting.
Place the second layer of cake on top and spread on top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting.
Place the cake in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Drizzle remaining caramel sauce, letting some to drip down the sides before serving.
Sprinkle chopped and whole pecans on top if desired. The frosted cake can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. Allow to cool at room temperature before serving.