Carrot Ginger Layer Cake – Only Smaller

Just after settling into the new apartment we were inundated with guests for the first part of the summer. Our great friends from Germany arrived and stayed with us. We also had a friend from Paris staying at our neighbours on his way to Hornby Island. We also had a new friend, from our recent Silver Sea cruise, come and visit us from the San Francisco area.

Given our new expansive deck we though we could handle the crowd easily. The only thing we did not count on was our wet spring continuing well into July.

Our dinners happened indoors which made for cozier company.

We had arranged to have 2 dinner parties close together so I need to make something for dessert for both events. A while back, I read a post over at Joy The Baker explaining that 4 – 6″ cake pans could be used in place of 2 – 8″ or 9″ cake pans and recipes. Great tip here…. Thank you Joy!

I decided to make a couple of carrot cakes. I had seen this cake on the Martha Stewart’s tv shoe several years ago when it was called John Barricelli‘s Carrot Cake. It has since been renamed just Carrot Ginger Layer Cake. I adapted the recipe a little. The original recipe included candied carrot for decoration. For these cakes I decided just the cake was enough. Thanks John! My hubby requests this cake frequently. I have to agree it is one of the best cake of any kind.

Carrot Ginger Layer Cake

For these 2 – 4 Layer cakes I used:


1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 Cups Cake Flour
1 1/4 Tablespoons Buttermilk Powder
1 1/2 Cups Pecans – Toasted
1 Pound of Carrots – Peeled and Shredded
3 Eggs
1/3 Cup Water
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 Cups of Whey Low Sugar Subustitute
1 1/2 Cups Vegetable Oil
1 Tablespoon Freshly Grated Ginger
2 Teaspoons of Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon of Salt
1 Teaspoon of Cinnamon

For the frosting for 1 cake:

6 Tablespoons Softened Butter – 3/4 of a stick
12 Ounces of Softened Cream Cheese – Full Fat
3 Cups Icing Sugar
1 1/2 Teaspoons of Grated Orange Zest
1 Tablespoon of Freshly Grated Ginger
Pinch of Salt

I served 1 cake to 6 people and there were leftovers sent home with some of the guests.
I stored the other 2 cooled layers in the freezer for next dinner party a few days later.

More after the jump……..

This is a big flavoured cake with a lot of steps so here goes:

I started by heating the oven to 375 then spray oiling and flouring 4 – 6 inch cake pans then setting them aside.

Carrot Ginger Layer Cake – The Pans

I then placed the pecans on a baking sheet and placed them in the pre-warmed oven for 7 or 8 minutes (your mileage may vary).

While the pecans were in the oven I grated 2 tablespoons of ginger reserving 1 tablespoon for the icing later.

I then took the pecans out of the oven to cool then I lightly chopped them.

I reduced the oven temperature to 300.

I peeled the carrots and removed the tips and stems and cut them into 4″ or 5″ lengths for the food processor. I shred the carrots using the smallest holes available.

Carrot Ginger Layer Cake – Assembling the ingredients

In the bowl of my mixer I put the carrots, eggs, water, vanilla, Whey Low sugar substitute, vegetable oil, and ginger in a bowl and briefly mixed them together on low speed.

Carrot Ginger Layer Cake – All of the wet ingredients including Whey low
Carrot Ginger Layer Cake – And the mix

In another bowl I sifted the flours, the buttermilk powder, the baking powder, the baking soda, the salt, and cinnamon. I then added this flour mixture to the carrot mixture and briefly mixed the whole mixture on low again. Just until the flour was almost mixed in.

Carrot Ginger Layer Cake – The Dry Ingredients
Carrot Ginger Layer Cake – the Dry ingredients Combined
Carrot Ginger Layer Cake – Adding the Dry to the Wet
Carrot Ginger Layer Cake – Just barely Mixed

Off the mixer I hand mixed the batter until everything was fully incorporated. I then folded in the pecans.

Carrot Ginger Layer Cake – Final hand mixing
Carrot Ginger Layer Cake – Folding in the Pecans

I split the batter between the 4 pans, tapped the air bubbles out, and baked the cakes checking them at 45 minutes. My cakes took the full hour (60 minutes).

Carrot Ginger Layer Cake – In the Oven

When the cakes were finished in the oven I moved the 4 pans to a cooling rack for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes I tapped out the cakes onto the cooling racks. They took about 90 minutes to cool completely.

When the cakes had cooled I wrapped 2 for the freezer for a later date. I split the remaining 2 cakes in half to assemble the layer cake.

While the cakes were cooling I started in on the frosting.

Carrot Ginger Layer Cake – Frosting Ingredients

I beat the butter in the mixer for a couple of minutes until light and fluffy. I added the cream cheese and beat the mixture for a couple of more minutes. I added the icing sugar, orange zest, ginger, and salt to the butter mixture, then I let the machine do its work for 5 minutes on medium speed.

Carrot Ginger Layer Cake – Whipping the butter

To frost the cake, I took the first layer and put it on a regular dinner plate. I then added 1/4 of the frosting and made a nice layer. I repeated with the next 3 layers.

Now the challenge, I had to chill the cake until the frosting was firm while trying to keep it from sliding apart. In the past I have used skewers. Unfortunately my skewers were tossed in the move so I searched through my drawers for something to stableize the cake in the fridge. I came up with a turkey lifter. It worked perfectly.

Carrot Ginger Layer Cake – The Turkey Lifter Scene

During the cake’s time in the fridge one of my guests opened the fridge and started laughing. He saw the turkey lifter at work.

After 2 hours the cake had solidified enough to continue the frosting. After the rest of the frosting was applied I put the cake back into the fridge for a final chilling.

Man I love this cake.

Baker’s Notes:

  •  When using 4 – 6 ” cake pans the cooking time could be slow
  •  You can easily use a sugar substitute here – I use Whey Low
  •  Low fat cream cheese just doesn’t work. It ends up sliding off of the cake before you serve it
  •  Low fat cream cheese can be used in the filling if you want to go that route – just not the outside coating
  •  Bake all 4 pans at once. Baking 2 pans then 2 pans will result in the second 2 cakes being more dense due to the buttermilk’s power having been used up while the batter rested
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