BEST carrot cake with maple cream cheese frosting, the best carrot cake recipe ever, must try.
Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4.
For cupcakes: Line 24 cupcake molds (2 12-standard muffin tins) with liners, or butter and flour them.
For layered cakes: Butter two 9-inch-diameter or three 8-inch-diameter cake pans. Line bottom of pans with parchment, butter and flour paper; tap out excess flour.
If using walnuts, lightly roast them on a baking tray or a frying pan, about 4-5 minutes. Leave to cool before processing them finely.
Meanwhile, whisk flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ground ginger in medium bowl to blend. Set aside. Place the pineapple slices in a blender and add some of the juices from the can. Discard excess liquid. Puree until smooth and set aside.
In a separate large bowl, whisk sugars, pineapple puree and oil until well blended. Whisk in eggs, one at a time. Add in the flour mixture and stir until blended. Stir in the vanilla, carrots and fresh ginger. Add in the walnuts and raisins, if using them.
For cupcakes: Divide batter among cupcake molds, filling 3/4 of each. Bake cupcakes 14 to 18 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center of one comes out clean. Let cool in pans for about 5 minutes. Transfer cakes to a cooling rack. Let cool completely before icing them.
For layered cakes: Divide the batter equally between the prepared pans, and bake the layers for about 30 minutes each for 8-inch cakes or about 40 minutes each for 9-inch cakes; or until a tester inserted into center comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans for about 15 minutes. Turn out onto cooling racks. Peel off parchment; cool cakes completely before icing.
In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat all the ingredients on medium speed until fluffy. Chill the frosting for about 20 to 30 minutes or until it has set up enough to spread smoothly and hold its shape.
For cupcakes: Place the maple cream cheese frosting into a piping bag fitted with your tip of choice and pipe onto cooled cupcakes accordingly.
For layered cakes: To assemble a layered cake, with an offset spatula, frost the top of one cake and place the other cake on top. Repeat for a three-layered cake. Frost the sides and top with a thin layer of frosting, chill the cake for about 30-45 minutes. Frost the cake completely to cover and decorate with swirls on the top. Chill cake for at least 30 minutes or till frosting is set. Bring to room temperature before serving.
For a soft batter and a cake with a melt-in-your-mouth crumb, like Deb I grated the carrots by hand with a box cheese grater and like her, I will not lie to you - it takes some elbow grease to get the required 3 cups. You can use the food processor but you will get thicker pieces - take care not to over do it or you will end up with carrot pulp swimming in carrot water. Like most cakes without butter and using oil instead, this is a very moist one so I chilled the cooled layers in the freezer prior to frosting.