05 June 2011

All That's Left Are the Crumbs ...

Our little church joined forces with a local artisans group this weekend to host a craft fair and community potluck supper in celebration of  springtime. It was a fun event that brought different people together. Some people baked cakes for a benefit cake auction, some baked them for a small cake contest, some brought their wares to sell at the craft fair, but everyone contributed in some way to a nice evening of dinner and chatter. The cake auction raised a small amount of money to seed the efforts of our local 250th celebration that will be coming up in 2012. A fun day, all around!

So ... I made a Coconut Carrot Cake with the requisite cream cheese frosting to contribute to the cake auction, as I am not the competitive type. I left the cake contest to far better bakers than I!

There were some beautiful cakes that came through the door yesterday. A gorgeous lemon curd cheesecake with thin slices of lemon atop, a four-layer deep chocolate cake with chocolate mousse and ganache between layers and dark chocolate embellishments atop, a white cake baked in the form of a Swedish Dal Horse with royal icing decoration, a three-berry coffee cake that was loaded with blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries, another cheesecake that was topped with a strawberry rhubarb compote, an apple Bundt cake dusted with sugar and smelling of cinnamon and just a hint of cardamom, and so many more! Beautiful, all!

So back to my humble little cake ... here's how I pulled it off.

This cake requires prep work ... I usually have everything shredded, crushed, chopped, whisked, and ready for easy assembly. The cake pans are also lined with waxed paper, as this is such a sticky, moist cake. The sugar content makes for a tough release on conventionally greased pans. Waxed paper really helps! 

One of my big things with carrot cake is that I like having real mass to the cake. Therefore, I love the fact that this recipe had shredded (not grated or pureed) carrot, chopped walnuts, a fair amount of shredded coconut, and the juice and pulp of crushed pineapple. It makes for a forkful of sweet yummy fiber in every bite.

As you can see, the batter isn't too appealing looking. In fact, one time when I was making this cake, my son (three at the time) climbed up on the stool beside me and muttered, "Yucky throw-up". Out of the mouths of babes, my friends. It was all I could do not to crack up right there because of course, I wanted him to enjoy a little slice and belabouring his point would have really put a cabosh on that! So instead, I scooped a bit of batter on my finger and slurped it up, declaring, "Sure doesn't taste like that yucky stuff!" Then, I made him wait to lick a spoon. Problem solved ...

You have to admit, though, the kid had a point. So, let's just concentrate on the pretty plate that I put this cake on. Found for a song at consignment shop in the neighborhood! Don't you just love finding cool stuff cheap? Seemed to fit the spring celebration theme ...

So letting the cinnamon and sugars do their magic, a nice dark, spicy moist cake comes out of the oven, gets a cool down, an ice up with a smooth lemon cream cheese frosting, and a cute little skewer to keep the layers from sliding. Folks knew just what they were dealing with when they checked out the auction table.

I was pleased that it went for $15 and change ... all to a good community cause.

Coconut Carrot Cake

Pre-heat oven to 350°F .  

Whisk together in a medium bowl:

2 c. flour
2 ½ tsp baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt

Whip in a large bowl:

¾ c. canola oil
2 c. sugar
3 eggs, added one at a time with generous whipping in between

Add the flour mix to the wet ingredient and stir to combine.
Fold in:

1- 8oz. can crushed pineapple
2 c. shredded carrots
1 ½ c. shredded coconut (sweetened)
½ c. chopped walnuts (or pecans)

Grease two  9-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with waxed paper.
Turn the batter into the pans and bake for 50 to 60 minutes.
Cool for ten minutes and then turn the cakes out of the pans onto cooling racks, gently peeling the waxed paper from the bottoms of the layers.
When cake layers are completely cool, ice with cream cheese frosting.

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting


6 tbsp. sweet butter
8 oz. brick of cream cheese
3 c. confectioner's sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
zest and juice of  ½ a lemon

Whip softened cream cheese and butter together. Add the vanilla and lemon zest and juice. Gradually add the confectioner's sugar, beating to a smooth spreadable consistency. ice the cake between layers and atop, leaving sides without.

Garnish the cake top with chopped nuts, candied pansies, nasturtiums, or a paper carrot on a toothpick. Place in a cool (not cold) place and store loosely covered.


  1. Your yucky throw-up turned into an absolutely gorgeous cake, lol!!! Okay, he does have a point.... :o) It's been years since I've made a carrot cake. Love the addition of coconut, it reminds me of morning glory muffins. Beautiful Susan, would love a piece for breakfast. Enjoy your Sunday!

  2. I do love carrot cake... and mine has coconut in it too but not the pineapple, which I just LOVE the sound of and will include in my next cake!

  3. What a lovely cake. It's funny, I just left a comment at Michael Toa's (Me, My Food and I) about his carrot cake- a much more subtle, refined cake then this whopping fibre filled celebration- but it's a cake like yours that I so often make and crave. I've never done the pineapple and coconut twist though, and look forward to giving this combination a go in the place of my cinnamon, raisin and walnut laden usual.
    Oh! And I love making a homemade labna (yoghurt cheese) icing. Have you tried doing that? Just drain a really nice creamy yoghurt until it's thick and then treat it as the cream cheese component of your recipe. It adds a different sort of tang to the icing.

  4. Drooling over your cake and that cake plate! So cute!

  5. I love carrot cake and what an adorable toppers!

  6. Love carrot cake and you made it with pineapple; even better!Never thought of adding lemon to my frosting.


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