Monday, June 3, 2013

Tropical Carrot and Pineapple Cake with Coconut Frosting

This is the best carrot cake. It is so moist and sweet but it also gets an amazing caramelized crust. I frosted with coconut buttercream in this photo, but the coconut cream cheese frosting is also good.

I used the recipe as written to bake 12 cupcakes and two six-inch rounds. The cupcakes went with me to a party and the rounds went in the freezer. As it turned out, they ended up saving me from having to bake the very next weekend, but I know they would have lasted and still been delicious for much longer.

Tropical Carrot and Pineapple Cake with Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon ground cloves

2 tablespoons minced crystalized ginger
 4 large eggs
2 cups superfine sugar
2/3 cup plain vegetable oil
¼ pound (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
One can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple in natural juices (I drained about 3 hours)
2 1/3 cups lightly packed grated carrots (I used the grate blade of the food processor, but if I had patience, I would prefer the smaller shreds from a box grater.)

Coconut Buttercream or Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners or baking pan with parchment. Enough for 3 8" rounds or 24 cupcakes. 
Sift flour, baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves onto a sheet of waxed paper; set aside.
Beat eggs in the large bowl of an electric mixer on moderate speed 1 minute. Blend in sugar and beat 1 minute. Blend in oil and melted butter. Beat in vanilla and drained pineapple. Scrape down the sides of the bowl frequently with a rubber spatula.
On low speed, add sifted flour mixture in two additions, beating just until flour is absorbed. Stir in carrots and ginger. Scrape into prepared baking pan. Bake 20-24 minutes for cupcakes, or 40 to 50 minutes or until risen and golden brown on top; a wooden pick inserted into the center of the cake should test clean. The cake will pull away slightly from the sides of the baking pan. Let cake stand in pan on a cooling rack. Cool completely.

Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes about 4 ½ cups

12 ounces cream cheese, softened
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
 5 cups unsifted powdered sugar
 1 teaspoon coconut extract

With an electric hand mixer, or a food processor, beat cream cheese and butter together until well combined. Blend in extract.

On low speed, add powdered sugar in three additions, beating until thoroughly combined before adding the next batch. Scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Use the frosting within 30 minutes of mixing.


Coconut Buttercream
from Laura Temple
1 1/2 cups of sugar
6 large egg whites 4 cubes of unsalted butter (1 pound) softened to room temperature
3/4 teaspoon coconut extract

Put egg whites and sugar in top of double boiler over simmering water. Whisk until temperature reaches 160 degrees. Remove from heat and move to a stand mixer bowl. Whip on medium high until they are room temperature. (Wrap ice packs or bags of frozen vegetables around the base of the bowl to speed cooling).

Once the whites/sugar mixture is at room temperature, keep mixing, and add the butter a couple of tablespoons at a time until all is incorporated. It might looked curdled part-way through, but just keep going and it will come together. Add the vanilla and mix just enough to incorporate it fully. Stir in any optional food coloring. This makes a great stark-white buttercream on its own.
Use immediately, or keep at room temperature and re-beat for a minute before using. If you want to freeze the leftovers, make sure to bring it completely to room temperature before you re-beat or it will curdle.



  1. OMG. I might make this this weekend. I am on day 3 of a 3-day juice cleanse, so I just keep looking at pictures of food online. :) THANK YOU!!! And coconut buttercream sounds phenomenal!!!

  2. Let me know if you make it! It is really good. I struggled mightily to make a coconut frosting with coconut milk, coconut cream, coconut oil, and various other actual coconut products, but the only way I could get something with decent consistency was to use coconut extract. Feels like a cop-out, but it doesn't taste like one!