Easter Carrot Cake
1 ¼ cups vegetable oil
1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup white sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cloves
1/3 cup canned, crushed pineapple, lightly drained
3 cups grated carrots
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
12 oz cream cheese, softened
12 tbsp butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
4-5 cups powdered sugar (I’d start tasting at 3 cups to end up with your preferred sweetness)
1-2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, to taste
Position a rack to the middle of the oven and heat to 350°F. Butter and flour two 8-inch rounds (or one 9×13 rectangular pan, if necessary).
In large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, vegetable oil, both sugars, and vanilla. Beat until smooth (about 1 minute). In a separate large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Blend well with a whisk or fork until evenly combined (this is a key step in creating a consistently-flavored cake).
With the mixer turned to low power, slowly incorporate the dry ingredients to the oil-sugar mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed and stirring just until combined. Add in pineapple, carrots and nuts. Stir until combined.
Once poured into the prepared pan(s), bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs, 30-35 minutes (the trick for a moist cake is to remove it just before it’s “fully” baked, as it will continue to dry out while cooling). If using a 9×13 pan, cooking times will be longer – about 45-50 minutes.
Let rounds cool about 10 minutes in the pan before flipping onto a cooling-rack, then let cool completely before frosting.
For the frosting: In large mixing bowl, combine butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy, adding up to 5 cups of the sugar, depending on sweetness preference. Add lemon juice to taste.