Cleo’s Carrot Cake
Makes 1 (9-inch) layer cake
For the cake:
1 cup canola oil, plus more for greasing
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups light brown sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
3 cups grated carrots
3/4 cup chopped pecans, plus more for garnish
For the frosting:
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Equipment: 2 (9-inch-round, 2-inch-deep) cake pans; parchment paper.
Make the cake: Preheat to 375°F. Grease and flour the bottom and sides of two 9-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the brown sugar and oil. Add the eggs, one at a time. Add the flour mixture in 3 batches, mixing until just combined. Gently fold in the carrots and pecans.
Divide the batter between the pans and tap sides to get rid of air bubbles. Bake until top is browned and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake emerges clean, about 35-40 minutes. Let cakes cool completely in the pan, then run a knife around the perimeter of each and turn out onto a cooking rack. Remove parchment.
Make the frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese and butter and beat on medium until smooth. Slowly add the confectioners' sugar and vanilla extract, beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
To frost the cake: Place 1 cake layer on a large platter and cover the top with about 1/3 of the frosting. Invert the second layer on top of the frosted bottom layer so that the flat side is on top. Lightly press layers together. Spread the remaining frosting on the sides and top of the cake. Garnish with pecans. Keep at room temperature until ready to serve. DO AHEAD: Finished carrot cake can be kept covered at room temperature for 2 to 3 days.