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Three-Layered Carrot Cake

Total Time

Prep: 1 hour + cooling Bake: 20 min. + cooling

Makes

16 servings

My mom loved carrots so much she put them in various dishes at least five times a week when I was growing up. Her specialty was a homemade carrot cake that was requested for every special occasion. When I made this for her 70th birthday, she cried with each bite. —Paula Marchesi, Lenhartsville, Pennsylvania
Three-Layered Carrot Cake Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Ingredients

  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1-1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme, optional
  • 2 cups finely shredded carrots (about 4 medium)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • FROSTING:
  • 2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 8 to 8-1/4 cups confectioners' sugar

Directions

  1. Place egg whites in a small bowl; let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350°. Line bottoms of 3 greased 8-in. square baking pans with parchment; grease paper.
  2. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking soda and salt. In a small bowl, whisk orange juice and sour cream. In a large bowl, cream butter, sugars and orange zest until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. If desired, beat in thyme. Add flour mixture alternately with orange juice mixture, beating well after each addition.
  3. With clean beaters, beat egg whites on medium speed until stiff peaks form. Fold into batter. Gently fold in shredded carrots and pecans.
  4. Transfer to prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 20-25 minutes. Cool in pans 10 minutes before removing to wire racks; remove paper. Cool completely.
  5. For frosting, in a large bowl, beat cream cheese, orange zest and juice until blended. Gradually beat in enough confectioners’ sugar to reach desired consistency.
  6. Spread frosting between layers and over top and sides of cake. Refrigerate until serving.
<b>Editor's Note:</b> To decorate cake with carrot ribbons, use a vegetable peeler to shave one large carrot into long ribbon-like strips. Reserve four of the longest strips for sides of cake; roll up remaining strips to make curls for the bow. Arrange long and rolled-up strips on a paper towel-lined baking sheet; let dry 30-45 minutes before placing on cake. Decorate frosted cake with carrot ribbons just before serving; if desired, add fresh thyme sprigs.

Nutrition Facts

1 slice: 744 calories, 35g fat (18g saturated fat), 145mg cholesterol, 420mg sodium, 104g carbohydrate (88g sugars, 2g fiber), 7g protein.

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