Beneath this towering yet unpretentious appearance lies multiple layers of moist, mildly spiced cake that are flecked with carrots and pecans and enveloped by a generous coating of cream cheese frosting.
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
- 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 pound carrots (8 to 10 medium carrots), peeled and shredded on a box grater or in a food processor (about 2 3/4 cups)
- 2 cups pecans (1 cup finely chopped for batter, 1 cup coarsely chopped for decorating sides of cake)
- Cream Cheese Frosting
Make the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter three 9-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment paper, and butter parchment. Dust with flour, tapping out excess. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and nutmeg.
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Beat butter and sugars with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat 3 minutes. Add vanilla, water, and carrots. Beat until well combined, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low, and add flour mixture, then finely chopped pecans.
Scrape batter into prepared pans, dividing evenly. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cool in pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around edges of cakes to loosen, and turn out cakes onto rack. Turn right side up, and let cool completely.
Using a serrated knife, trim rounded top of 2 cakes. Place one trimmed cake, cut side up, on a serving platter. Spread 1 cup frosting over cake. Top with second trimmed cake, cut side down. Spread 1 cup frosting over cake. Top with remaining cake. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides. Gently press coarsely chopped pecans onto sides of cake. Refrigerate 1 hour before serving.
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