Tropical Carrot Cake

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Believe it or not, the spices that tend to go in a carrot cake also compliment the bright flavors of pineapple, banana, and coconut. This cake is a riff on our beloved Hummingbird cake, combining some of the elements of that cake with a traditional carrot cake. Trust us, you'll be making this one for years to come.

Tropical Carrot Cake
Photo: Micah A. Leal

Ingredients

Cake

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 cups sugar

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 3 large eggs

  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 1 (8-oz.) can crushed pineapple in juice, undrained

  • 2 cups chopped ripe banana

  • 1 cup shredded carrot, pressed dry

  • 1 cup sweetened coconut, plus more for garnish

  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, plus more for garnish

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, room temperature

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 (16-oz.) package powdered sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and spices. Add eggs, oil, and vanilla extract; whisking until fully incorporated.

  2. Fold in crushed pineapple, banana, carrot, coconut, and pecans. Divide batter evenly among 3 well-greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans.

  3. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 25-30 minutes. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks, and cool completely, about 1 hour.

  4. Prepare Cream Cheese Frosting: Combine cream cheese and butter in mixer and beat until well combined. Add salt and powdered sugar, and beat on low until incorporated, then increase speed to medium high and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

  5. Assemble Cake: Cut domes off cake layers to create 3 even layers. Place 1 layer on a cake stand and evenly spread 3/4 cup cream cheese frosting across the layer. Place another layer on top of that one and repeat with another 3/4 cup frosting. Add final layer, and spread remaining frosting across the top. Decorate with shredded coconut and pecans.

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