Spirit Bear Birthday Cake: Carrot Pecan Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Icing and Toasted Coconut

Spirit Bear Birthday Cake Carrot Pecan Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Icing and Toasted Coconut

Last Tuesday was Bea’s 10th birthday!  To celebrate a decade of happiness, we made yet another bear cake! This time, it was a particular favourite of Bea’s, the Spirit Bear. [Like Spirit Bears? Check out this year’s March breACK! posts!] Okay, so my cake artistry may not be deep. I’m a home cook! But it’s the thought that counts!…Moreso, it’s about the taste!!  Bea fell in love with carrot cake on a camping trip, and so I was quite excited to come up with a new recipe for carrot cake for HER birthday (leaving out my fave addition, pineapple, per her request). She loves lemons, too, so we incorporated a bit of citrus into the cake and a lot more of it in the Icing.  Then, we decorated the cake with plain and toasted shredded coconut.

THIS TURNED OUT TO BE THE BEST CARROT CAKE WE’VE EVER MADE!!!!

So, Here’s our fabulous new recipe and our reasonably cute assembly instructions…

Finished Cake Collage

SPIRIT BEAR CAKE!

Carrot Pecan Cake

Ingredients
1.25 c brown sugar
.5 c white sugar
4 x-large eggs
1 tbs vanilla
1 tbs lemon juice
zest of .5 lemon
.75 c unsalted butter, melted
.75 c good vegetable oil
2 c all purpose flour [we use unbleached for our fancy cakes]
1.5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
.5 tsp salt
1 tbs cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom [optional, but worth it!]
.5 tsp nutmeg
.25 tsp cloves
3.75 c grated carrots, half fine grate, half cheese grate
1.5 c pecan pieces, chopped a little, toasted if desired
[Here’s where you’d also add 1 cup of drained chopped pineapple pieces and omit about .5 c of the carrot — if only your children approve]
1 c shredded coconut, sweetened or no, and toasted if desired

Method
Heat oven to 350.
Fill two holes in a standard cupcake tin with paper liners.
Line the bottoms of two round baking pans with parchment
[We used one each: 6 in, 10 in. For a standard layer cake: two 9 in]
[Use a few dabs of butter or baking spray to stick down.]
Coat the inside edges of the pans with baking spray.
In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, eggs, vanilla, lemon juice and zest.
Drizzle in the butter and oil and continue to whisk until well blended.
Whisk the dry ingredients [except the carrots, nuts, and coconut] together in a small bowl.
Slowly add the dry ingredients to the large bowl of wet ingredients, whisking occasionally.
Stir in the carrots, nuts, [pineapple] and coconut with a spatula.
Place about 1 c of batter in each of the cupcake tins, filling about 3/4 full.
Fill each of the two round pans about 3/4 full.
Place cake pans and cupcake tin in the oven. [I had the cupcakes on the lower rack]
Bake cupcakes for a total of 20-25 minutes.
Bake cakes for a total of 32-38 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.
Let cakes sit for about 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack and cooling completely.
Unwrap the cupcakes after they have cooled completely.

Lemon Cream Cheese Icing

Ingredients
9 tbs butter
12 oz/1.5 packages light cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbs lemon juice
5-6 c icing sugar/confectioner’s sugar
2-4 tbs additional lemon juice

Method
Cream the butter, cream cheese, 1 tbs lemon juice and vanilla in a mixer.
Add the icing sugar by the cupful until blended in.
Add more lemon juice by the teaspoon-full until the icing is of spreadable consistency.

Extras
a tube of brown or black decorator icing or about 1/2 c the icing above coloured brown or black and added to a piping bag.
3 cups of coconut, one untoasted, one toasted to a very light brown, and one toasted to a slightly darker brown but not burnt

Assembly and Decoration
Place the larger round cake on your serving pan and frost.
Place the unwrapped cupcakes on their sides as “ears” at about 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock around the main cake and frost.
[Trim the cupcakes to create shape if you wish.]
Place the smaller round cake on top of the larger round cake  towards the lower edge of the circle [6 o’clock] and frost.
Use a fork to add texture to the frosting if you like.
Add a frosting tip to your dark decorator icing or grab a piping bag full of darkened icing and draw in eyes, nose and inner ears.
Add a variety of shades of coconut to the ears mouth and face.
Touch-up the frosting eyes and nose if so desired.
Bear Construction Collage
Enjoy!
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