Towering Carrot Cake

from the kitchen of: Dawn Olson This amazing dessert is built with layers of moist cake, creamy frosting, indulgent caramel, and crunchy pecans. Wow your friends and family with its delicious taste and beautiful presentation.

Ingredients: 

1 1/3 c vegetable oil 
4 eggs 
2 c finely shredded carrots 
1 c crushed pineapple 
2 tsp vanilla extract 
1 1/2 c chopped pecans (optional) 
2/3 c shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened) 
3 c all purpose flour 
2 c sugar 
2 tsp baking powder 
2 tsp baking soda 
1 tsp cinnamon 
1 tsp salt 

CARAMEL SAUCE 
6 tbs butter 
6 tbs brown sugar 
1/4 c whipping cream 
2 tsp vanilla extract 
CANDIED PECANS 
1/4 c brown sugar 
1 tbs orange juice 
1 c pecans halved 
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING 
1 (8-oz) pkg cream cheese 
1/2 c butter 
1 tsp vanilla extract 
6 c powdered sugar 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Oil two 9-inch round cake pans. Combine oil, eggs, carrots, pineapple, vanilla, pecans, and coconut; mix well. Sift dry ingredients together and add to combined moist ingredients. Mix for 2 minutes. Pour batter into prepared cake pans. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into middle of cake comes out clean. Turn cake layers onto cooling racks and allow to thoroughly cool. 

Place one cooled cake layer on a serving plate. Frost the top of the first layer with cream cheese frosting. Add second layer and frost the outside of the cake with cream cheese frosting, creating a ¼-inch rim around the perimeter of the top of the cake. This will help contain the caramel sauce. Place caramel sauce on top of the cake and garnish with the candied pecans. Store the cake in refrigerator until ready to serve. 

Caramel Sauce 
In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar and cream. Cook and stir until mixture comes to a full boil. Reduce heat. Boil gently for 3 minutes, stirring occasion-ally. Stir in vanilla. Allow to cool. 

Candied Pecans 
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly oil a baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and orange juice. Add pecans, stirring to coat. Spread on prepared sheet. Bake 12 minutes or until nuts are browned and syrup is bubbly. Pour nuts onto a sheet of well-buttered waxed pa-per, separating nuts into single pieces. Allow to cool. 
TIP: The candied pecans are great as a snack, on salads, and in yogurt. They make a delicious gift as well! 

Cream Cheese Frosting 
Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla on low until fluffy. Add sugar and beat until light and smooth. 

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