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Martha's Favorite

Carrot-Ginger Layer Cake with Orange Cream-Cheese Frosting

Sweet, edible ribbons wrap this two-tiered carrot cake. They're made from thinly sliced carrot strips, cooked in sugar and water until translucent, then gently pressed into the cake's cream cheese frosting. Martha made this recipe on "Martha Bakes" episode 712.

  • Servings: 12
  • Yield: Makes one 8-inch layer cake

Photography: Yossy Arefi

Source: Martha Stewart Living, April 1999

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) melted unsalted butter, plus more for pans
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 1 cup (3 ounces) pecan halves
  • 2 1/2 cups (12 ounces) shredded carrots
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup nonfat buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Orange Cream-Cheese Frosting
  • Candied Carrot Strips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter two 8-by-2-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper and butter. Dust pans with flour and tap out any excess. Set aside. Spread pecans in a single layer on an ungreased baking pan and toast in oven until lightly golden, about 7 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand until completely cool. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees. Finely chop pecans and set aside.

  2. Place carrots, eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, sugar, and ginger in a large bowl; mix until well combined.

  3. Into a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Using a rubber spatula, fold the flour mixture into the carrot mixture until combined. Fold in the butter and toasted pecans.

  4. Divide batter between the two cake pans and bake until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Remove pans from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool, about 15 minutes. Turn cakes out onto rack; let stand until completely cool.

  5. Using a serrated knife, trim tops of cakes so surfaces are level. Place a layer on a cake stand or cardboard round and spread 3/4 cup frosting over top. Place the second cake layer on top and spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of assembled cake. Transfer to refrigerator and chill 3 to 4 hours.

  6. For the candied carrot strips, set a wire rack over a baking pan. Using fingers, lift one candied carrot strip from the sugar syrup, holding it over the container. With the thumb and forefinger of your other hand, gently squeeze the carrot strip and slide your fingers along its length, removing as much excess syrup as possible; lay the carrot strip on the wire rack. Repeat with remaining carrot strips.

  7. Decorate cake with candied carrot strips as desired. Cut cake and serve.

Cook's Notes

This recipe can also be baked in cupcake liners in a standard cupcake pan at 300 degrees for 25 minutes.

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