Carrot Cake with Apricot Pecan Filling and Caramel Buttercream
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1/2 cup shaved sweetened coconut
1 cup chopped pecans, chopped
3 large eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups grated carrot
1 tablespoon orange zest or zest from one orange
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup dried pineapple, chop 1/4-inch pieces
1/2 cup raisins
Apricot Pecan Filling Ingredients:
1/2 cup apricot preserves (jam)
2 tablespoons orange marmalade
2 tablespoons toasted coconut
1 cup toasted pecans, chopped (Reserve 2-tablespoons pecans for sprinkling on top.)
3/4 cup salted butter
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup caramel ice cream topping
2 tablespoons milk (as needed for thinning)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread shredded coconut on cookie sheet. Spread shaved coconut on one side of another cookie sheet, and the pecans on the other side. Bake the shredded coconut for 6 minutes and the shaved coconut and pecans for 8 minutes or until all coconut and pecans are toasted. Reserve 2 tablespoons toasted shredded coconut for filling, the remainder will go into the cake batter. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, mix eggs, sugar, oil, buttermilk, extract, carrots, orange zest, and orange juice until well combined. Sift flour, soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice into the wet mixture and beat for 1 minute on low. Stir in pineapple, raisins, and toasted shredded coconut.
Line 2 (9-inch) round cakepans with parchment paper and coat with cooking spray. Pour cake batter evenly into pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until wooden skewer inserted in the center comes our clean. Cool on rack for 5-minutes. Remove cake and continue to cool on rack.
Meanwhile, make the apricot pecan filling. Mix all filling ingredients, and spread on topside of one cake. Place the second cake on top of filling.
To make caramel frosting: Beat butter with paddle attachment on medium-high speed in a mixing bowl. Beat until light in color and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low, add powdered sugar and vanilla, and mix until completely incorporated. Turn off the mixer, and then add caramel. Beat frosting on low to combine, and then increase to medium-high and beat until airy and thoroughly mixed, about 2 minutes. Add milk only if necessary to thin. Frost cake. Sprinkle toasted shaved coconut on top of frosting and sprinkle with 2-tablespoons toasted pecans. Yields: (1) 9-inch two-layer cake.