Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Ben Starr's Pumpkin Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing and Candied Pecans

Good morning! How was your weekend? Relaxing, and uneventful or crazy busy? Mine felt like a little of both and yet I feel rested and ready to tackle all of the things I have planned for the week.

Last week was my birthday and as I mentioned I baked five different cakes and gave them all away. Just so you don't think I didn't have a cake, I actually made a sixth mini- cake for my husband and I to have a piece and I chose Pumpkin Carrot Cake. Carrot cake and pumpkin cake are two of my favorites so I thought a combination would be fabulous and it was.

As Thanksgiving is just a 10 days away I thought you might want to try the Pumpkin Carrot Cake in case you were looking for something a little different for dessert. This cake has the flavor of carrot cake, combined with all of the spicy flavors of the holidays, Add the creamy cream cheese frosting and candies nuts and you will be in heaven!

Pumpkin Carrot Cake

Recipe from: Ben Starr

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Prepare three 8” or 9” round layer cake pans by lightly greasing them with oil. Place a parchment paper round in the bottom of each and then lightly grease them as well. 
The Cake:
6 egg whites
1 cup of white sugar 
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
Using the balloon whisk attachment, combine the egg whites, cream of tartar and white sugar, turn the mixer on high and beat for 2-3 minutes until you have stiff peaked meringue. Set aside. 
In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, add:
2 sticks unsalted butter 
1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 egg yolks
11/4 cups pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla
Beat the butter on medium speed for about 1 minute until it is smooth and light in color. Slowly add the white and brown sugar. Beat for about 4 minutes or until both sugars are fully incorporates and the mixture is light and fluffy. Make sure to stop the mixer and scrape down the sides. 
Then add the egg yolks one at a time, making sure to incorporate each. Beat until mixture is thick and pale, about 3 minutes. 
Add pumpkin puree and vanilla, beat on medium for 1 minute. 

In a separate bowl, combine:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon

1 Tablespoon ginger

1 Tablespoon  ground cardamom

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1 teaspoon salt

Whisk all dry ingredients, then sift. With the mixer on low, slowly add the mixture to the butter, sugar mixture. Mix until just combined.
2 cups grated carrots

Mix for 1 minute until everything is incorporated.
THEN, add 1/3 of the meringue mixture and gently fold in to the batter to lighten it. Add remaining meringue mixture and gently fold, do not stir or beat aggressively. Fold egg whites until you do not see any white in the mixture.  
Pour mixture into prepared pans, smooth the tops. Then pick pans up about 6 inches off the counter and let them fall, this will break up any air bubbles.
Place cakes in a preheated 350 oven, and throw a few ice cube in the bottom. According to Ben this creates a little steam, which means flatter cakes. Immediately turn oven down to 325 and make for 30 minutes or until knife inserted into the center comes out clean. 

Remove cakes from oven and cool in the pan for 15-30 minutes, then take out of pan and cool completely on rack. 

Cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting 

2 cup butter, softened
2 8 oz packages of cream cheese, softened
1-2 pounds of confectioners sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract

Combine butter and cream cheese in stand mixer, beat on medium until light and fluffy. Add confectioners sugar one cup at a time on low speed, then add vanilla. Beat on medium high until light and fluffy. You may need to add a little milk or cream to get it to the consistency that you like.

To assemble the cake, Ben recommends wrapping the cake layers in plastic wrap and then placing in the  freezer for 30 minutes, and then slicing them so they hold up better. 

Slice each cake in half, place one layer on cake plate and frost with a layer of frosting, continue with another layer and then frosting, until each layer is frosted. Frost the cake liberally and then decorate with the chopped nuts.

This recipe is long and may seem a little complicated. For a video and Ben's excellent instructions visit his blog HERE. In fact, please visit Ben's link for instructions in case I missed something. The cake is a little time consuming but it is so worth it!
Also: I used 6" cake pans for this cake pictured. 

For the Candied Nut Recipe visit HERE

I hope that you have a fabulous week!


  1. I haven't had a bite to eat this morning with my coffee and I'm dying for a piece of this - looks amazing !!

  2. Carrot cake is one of my two favourites- black forest being the other. While I haven't had pumpkin cake, I like it in muffins, so I'm sure mixing pumpkin and carrot into cake would agree with me.

  3. Goodness, this looks wonderful and I love both flavors. Not often I make a cake but with the holidays just next week I've been selected to make the stuffing and a dessert...so yours it will be. xx's

  4. SIX cakes! You are amazing!! I can barely get one made for birthday time and even then I would have half of it eaten myself! So you are not only a domestic goddess but also have insane will power. (And a really great friend to those cake recipients!!) Hope it's a wonderful, wonderful year for you!! xo Kristy


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