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From Taste of the South magazine by Shirley Corriher. Perfect with Grand Marnier Cream Cheese Icing. She recommends using a baking stone to insure a steady baking temperature in the oven. Refrigerate leftovers.
- 2 cups walnuts or 2 cups pecans, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3⁄4 teaspoon salt, divided
- nonstick cooking spray
- 2 1⁄3 cups self-rising flour, spooned and leveled
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1⁄2 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated, if possible)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground allspice (optional)
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 3 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 cups light brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1 cup canola oil
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1⁄4 cup orange juice (fresh is best)
- 3 cups very finely grated carrots (approximately 6 carrots)
- PREPARATION: Arrange a shelf in the lower third of the oven and place a baking stone on it.
- Preheat oven to 350°F
- Spread nuts on a baking sheet, place in the oven on the stone, and roast for 10 to 12 minutes.
- While nuts are hot, stir in 2 tablespoons butter and 1/4 teaspoon salt; set aside.
- Spray 2 (8-inch) round cake pans (the 2-inch high kind) with nonstick cooking spray and line with a parchment circle.
- Spray very lightly on top of parchment, too.
- THE CAKE: In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and orange zest.
- Beat well at medium speed with an electric mixer.
- In another bowl, stir together whole eggs, egg yolks, and brown sugar.
- Then, add oil, vanilla, and orange juice, stirring to combine.
- Make a hole in the center of flour mixture and add egg mixture, a little at a time, stirring by hand.
- Add carrots and roasted nuts.
- Pour batter into prepared pans (spoon batter from one pan to the other until batter is divided equally).
- Drop pans, one at a time, onto the counter from a height of 4 inches to knock out large air bubbles.
- Place both pans in oven on stone.
- Bake for approximately 30 to 35 minutes, or until the center springs back when touched. Ideally, cake should not pull away from sides until it has just come out of oven. (The center temperature should read approximately 209° on an instant-read thermometer.).
- COOLING THE CAKE: Cool cake layers in pans on a cooling rack for approximately 10 minutes.
- Shake pan to loosen cake all around.
- Spray a cooling rack with nonstick cooking spray.
- Place rack, sprayed side down, on top of cake and invert.
- Let cool completely.
- FROSTING THE CAKE: When completely cool, slice each layer in half horizontally, creating 4 layers.
- Divide cream cheese icing in half; reserving one half to ice top and sides.
- Divide remaining half into thirds.
- Place one layer, cut side up, on a cake plate or serving dish and spread with one-third of icing.
- Place another layer on top of icing, cut side up, and spread with another third.
- Place third layer on top, cut side up, and spread with remaining third.
- Place top layer on, cut side down. Ice top and sides with reserved icing.