Tropical Carrot Cake:
As always you need to start with your ingredients.
2 1/3 cups sifted all purpose flour
1 cup sweetened coconut
1 cup macadamia nuts (I used walnuts because I think their flavor holds up better)
3 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
A tiny pinch of clove
2 1/2 teaspoons baking power
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups sugar
1 cup veg oil
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups finely grated carrots
2 8-oz cans well drained crushed pineapple
Now that you've got everything set out your first step is to preheat your oven at 350 degrees then combine 1/3 cup flour and the coconut and nuts in a food processor or blender until the nuts are finely ground.
Then whisk the remaining flour and dry ingredients together.
Using an electric mixture, combine sugar and oil then beat in eggs one at a time making sure to let them blend in before adding the next egg.
Next, add the whisked flour mixture.
Stir in the flour/coconut/nut mixture. Be prepared to use a little elbow grease because the mixture right now is very thick and dry.
Now we're going to stir in the carrots then the pineapple which is going to help make the mix easier to work with.
Pour the mix equally into three 9 inch pans that have been greased and lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 for about a half hour. I rotated them at 15 minutes since I couldn't fit all three pans on the same rack level. Now you've got a few free minutes to do a mid baking clean.
Now, very important...do not throw away the pineapple juice that you drained. The juice is key. In addition to the ingredients mentioned above you also need this:
Vanilla and passion fruit vodka and cherries. And no you don't mix all of them together. Ew.
Two parts pineapple juice to one part vanilla vodka. Put a cherry or two in the bottom of a chilled martini glass, shake until mixture gets foamy then pour into glass. Dribble a little grenadine syrup or cherry juice down the side.
Not sure if this has a name or not, we decided to see if it tasted good and it does so, you know, cool. Again two parts pineapple juice to one part passion fruit infused vodka. Mix and pour over ice in a tumbler. Passionate Pineapple, that's what I'm calling it.
When the cakes are done (clean toothpick test) make sure to totally cool them before starting the frosting.
Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting:
What you need:
3 8-oz packages cream cheese
1 1/2 sticks softened butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Bare 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
3/4 - 1 cup cream of coconut
Despite how gross it looks, cream of coconut is a glorious thing.
Combine cream cheese and butter until smooth, add the powdered sugar (slowly unless you want it to explode!) the extracts, then the cream of coconut. I love cream cheese frosting and I love cream of coconut so I thought this was pretty genius.
(me tasting the flavor of genius)
Place the first cake on the plate flat side up (i.e. upside down) and spread about 3/4 cups frosting on it before adding the next layer (also upside down). Spread on another 3/4 cups frosting and add the final layer, curved side up (or right side up).
Cover the entire cake with a thin layer of frosting and chill for for a good hour or so then add more frosting.
To decorate I powdered walnuts in the food processor. You want to be careful with that and stop your processing before you start getting walnut butter. Then I covered the cake best as I could. If anyone reading knows how people get the sides of cake covered so nicely with nuts please tell me! I resorted to taking pinches of the walnut dust and kind of throwing them at the cake. Which was amusing to say the least but was also messy and not terribly effective.
Now I ended having a fair amount of frosting left over. It is really good frosting but I'm on a diet so I immediately threw out the rest of the frosting and cleaned the bowl.