- 2 cups sugar
- 1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
- ¼ cup buttermilk
- 3 extra-large eggs, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or you can substitute with pure vanilla extract)
- 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 pound carrots, grated into strips (you may us pre-packaged grated carrots)
- 1 cup raisins
- 1 cup chopped walnuts, very roughly chopped
- 1 TBS of crystalized ginger, chopped into very small pieces (also called candied ginger, not in
- 16 ounces Italian mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
- 8 ounces cream cheese (1 good quality brick, full-fat), at room temperature
- 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 4 cups sifted confectioners sugar, or to your taste
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or you may substitute with pure vanilla extract)
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 10 – 15 small pieces of crystallized ginger (not in syrup) for garnish on the top of the cake.
You can find crystallized ginger (also called candied ginger) in larger chunks often in tubs or resealable bags (these are softer and more pliable than the ones in the jar, and less expensive)
Preheat oven to 400°; bake initially 10 minutes, then immediately reduce to 350°
Prepare pans by buttering 2, 9” round pans; place parchment round in bottom of each pan; dust with flour then set aside. These will be slightly thinner layers, but with the buttercream it will be just the right height for a nice slice. If you prefer to have a much higher cake, you could use two 8” rounds and bake a little longer, until a toothpick placed in center of each cake comes out clean.
Using the paddle attachment on a stand mixer beat eggs, oil, sugar on medium for two minutes until yellow and thickened somewhat. Stir in vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract) and buttermilk; mix for another 1 minute.
In separate bowl, sift the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Turn mixer on stir
and slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet; increase speed to give it a final mix, but do not over mix.
Remove the bowl from stand and, using a rubber spatula, stir in the carrots, walnuts, ginger and raisins.
Divide batter evenly into the prepared two pans. Bake at 400° for 10 minutes; reduce heat to 350° and bake another 30 - 35 minutes, or until a toothpick placed in the middle comes out clean. We recommend rotating your pans after 15 minutes at 350 ° so the layers bake evenly. Cool the pans for 15 minutes on a rack so air can circulate underneath. Then, turn each round over by placing the baking rack on top of the pan, flipping it over; remove pan and then peel parchment from top of cake. Finish cooling completely before frosting.
In the bowl of the stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the mascarpone, sifted confectioners’ sugar, cream cheese, butter and vanilla for 1 minute until light and fluffy. Add the salt and mix another 30 seconds until light and fluffy.
Place one layer on cake plate, flat side facing up. Using a spatula, place a nice amount of the buttercream on top of the bottom layer. Using an inverted knife, spread the buttercream, gently, across the entire top of the bottom layer, almost to the edge. The buttercream will be softer than a typical buttercream and it will spread easily, so be careful not to go too close to the edge.
Place second layer, flat side up, on top of the buttercream. Place more buttercream on top, spreading it out in a whimsical pattern, again, almost to the edge, but not quite…we love the simplicity of the exposed layers, but you could frost the sides as well. Dot the top of the cake with pieces of crystallized ginger. The ginger can be very spicy/hot, so use it sparingly.
Serve immediately or refrigerate until serving (remove from refrigerator an hour before serving to soften the buttercream frosting).