There are few things in life that bring me more happiness than cutting into a cake to reveal four layers of absolute perfection. I may be dramatizing a bit here, but I truly do LOVE finding perfectly aesthetic layers to go along with a delicious-tasting cake! For the upcoming Easter holiday, I thought it would be fun to pay tribute to the traditional carrot cake. Here, I’ve put my own personal spin by decorating not with marzipan carrots (which is pretty cute too), but rather with a subtle ombre along the frosted sides. I present to you, a four-layer orange ombre carrot cake masterpiece! Sorry… I’ll cut down on the drama.
Around this time two years ago, I attempted to make egg-shaped cake pops out of vegan carrot cake. The result was disastrous and it obviously did not make it onto #pfhtblog. But since then, I’ve experimented with a few different carrot cake recipes and think I’ve found my favorite one thus far! Although it’s not vegan, this recipe is only 1 ingredient away so that’ll be my next trial. This time, I opted for a more traditional layer cake construction, as I’ve been gushing over how they turn out lately! Recall the latest of multi-layer cakes: colorful funfetti, ultimate pumpkin, and vegan dark chocolate.
I promise that this cake is moist, flavorful, a touch sweet, and all-around delicious! It’s a definite crowdpleaser and just take a look at the freshly shredded carrots and toasted walnuts in every layer! As the icing on the cake (literally), I added a touch of orange coloring to some of the cream cheese frosting to add a ombre gradient effect along the sides of the cake. It’s such a quick and easy way to instantly give the finished product a unique and awe-inspiring look!
To finish it off, I add a few calla lily sugar paste flowers I’d made right on top. Just like that, it gets an instant upgrade! While I don’t have a recipe or tutorial to show for these flowers just yet, please let me know if there is interest and I’ll make it happen!
In the meantime, I wish everyone a happy holiday weekend and Happy Easter to those who celebrate! Look out for an Easter outfit post coming at you shortly :) Thanks for dropping by and please let me know your thoughts in the comments below! Hope to have you here again soon.
- 150 g (3) large eggs, room temperature
- 275 g (1¼ c) sugar
- 190 g (1⅔ c) pastry flour**
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- 1½ tsp cinnamon
- ¾ tsp salt
- 220g (1 c) vegetable oil
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 250 g (2½ c) carrots
- 1 c toasted walnuts, chopped
- 1½ packages (8 oz) cream cheese, room temperature (total of 12 oz)
- ¾ c butter, room temperature
- 3 c powdered sugar, more to taste
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- (optional) 3-5 drops orange gel food coloring
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line, grease, and flour two 6" or two 8" round cake pans.
- In a stand mixer with whisk attachment, whip together eggs and sugar until aerated and fluffy for 5-7 minutes. The mixture should fall as a ribbon when falling off the spatula.
- Meanwhile, sift together the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
- When egg mixture is at ribbon stage, slowly add in oil and vanilla extract with the mixer still running until emulsified.
- With a rubber spatula, manually fold in the sifted dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined. Be careful not to over-mix.
- Stir in carrots and toasted walnuts.
- Portion batter into the two cake pans and bake for 40-50 minutes until done. Test for doneness by lightly tapping the center of each cake (it should spring back) and an inserted skewer or toothpick should come out clean.
- Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes before unmolding onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
- In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat room temperature cream cheese and butter together until incorporated and smooth.
- Slowly add in powdered sugar (to taste), salt, and vanilla extract until desired consistency is reached.
- Reserve half of the frosting for frosting the outside of the cake, and the other half for the filling.
- To ¼ of the reserved frosting for the outside of the cake, add a few drops of orange gel food coloring. This will be the darkest color of the ombre.
- Optionally transfer frosting to pastry bags.
- When cakes are cool, level the cakes by removing the "dome" tops. For the smaller 6" cakes, optionally divide each cake into two layers by using a serrated knife to cut in half horizontally to make a total of 4 layers.
- Construct cake on a cake board and turntable. Place the first layer on the cake board.
- Add a a layer of cream cheese frosting on top of the cake layer, about ⅛" - ¼" thick.
- Add the next layer of cake on top of the frosting layer and repeat until all cake layers have been constructed.
- Crumb coat the cake; cover the cake with a thin layer of frosting to seal crumbs from the top and sides. Chill in the refrigerator 10-30 minutes to firm up.
- When chilled, build the ombre sides by covering the bottom ⅓ of the cake with the colored orange frosting.
- To the remainder of the orange frosting, add ¼ of the remaining uncolored frosting to lighten the color. Add this color to the next ⅓ of the cake sides just above the darker band of frosting.
- Repeat once more for the top ⅓ of the cake sides.
- Cover the top of the cake with uncolored frosting.
- Smooth the sides and top of cake with offset spatulas and bench scrapers as needed, using the turntable to help guide the smoothing process.
- Optionally add decorative items to the top of the cake (sugar paste flowers, toasted nuts, etc).
- Chill to store and bring to room temperature prior to serving. Slice, serve, and enjoy!
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