Blue Ribbon Carrot Cake

I have made this cake twice in one week. The first time I made it was for a friends birthday and used some of the batter to make about 6 cupcakes so Randy and I could have some. Having a new neighbor next to us, 3 of the cupcakes went to her and so I got one and Randy had two. Well, I can tell you that just having one simply was enough to leave me with a craving for more carrot cake. This recipe was handed to me back in 2002 when, at a company picnic, Randy was talked into being in a dunking booth and all the employees bought tickets trying to dunk him. If you know Randy, you will know that the Penny loafer-Polo shirt wearing, brief case carrying man was not in “hog heaven” that day. But I walked away with this great recipe of a cake that one of the ladies from the office brought to the all day picnic.
Today there were 8 ladies at the house for a salad luncheon and since I had not yet satisfied the carrot cake craving, I decided to make it again. All I can tell you is that it always gets rave reviews and as several of the ladies and a couple of the husbands who were taken a piece said, “this is the best carrot cake” It is simple and wonderful.

2 1/2 cups flour
2 teas baking soda
1/2 teas salt
2 teas cinnamon (I added an extra one to make 3 teas total)
3 eggs, well beaten
3/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 cups sugar
2 teas vanilla
1 (8 oz) can crushed pineapple, drained
2 cups grated carrots
1 (3 1/2 oz) can flaked coconut
1 cup finely chopped pecans (or walnuts)
1/3 cup orange juice

Combine flour, soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
Combine eggs, oil, buttermilk,sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth.
Stir in flour mixture, pineapple, carrots, coconut and nuts.
Pour into well greased and floured 3 (9″) pans.
Bake at 350 for about 23-28 minutes or until cake tests done. If you use one 9×13 pan, remove enough batter to make about 4 cupcakes and bake for about 35-40 minutes or until cake tests done. Cupcakes will only need about 15 minutes to bake.

When cake is done, remove from oven and using a pastry brush, brush each layer with the orange juice allowing it to spread over each layer. Let cool for about 10 min and remove layers onto sheets of waxed paper or cooling rack.

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
1 (1 lb) box of powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 (8 oz) softened cream cheese
1-2 tables orange juice concentrate (I bought orange juice concentrate and allowed to thaw so that it gave the frosting a stronger “orange” taste.

Combine the powdered sugar, butter and cream cheese and mix until well blended. Add the orange juice concentrate to make frosting a spreading consistency.

Divide the frosting between the 3 layers, saving enough to frost the top and sides of the cake. Sprinkle more very finely chopped pecans or walnuts over top of cake.

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