Weather Cools Down, Ovens Warm Up

Orrville, Ohio (Nov. 2008) – As the fall settles in with cooler mornings and chilly nights, people are drawn to their kitchens to make delicious meals with desserts that bring heart-warming comfort to the soul.

Hearty cakes that soothe the taste buds top this year's must-have list for special occasions. Among the favorites are apple cake, spice cake, and of course, the ever popular carrot cake. Celebrate the fall with a touch of New Orleans style with a delectable Praline Filled Carrot Cake.

Baking expert Dede Fuson agrees that people of all ages will enjoy this timeless classic. "At this time of year a nice, beautiful cake for dessert makes an impressive statement. This recipe is perfect for any baker – not too difficult to accomplish, but shows you've gone the extra mile to impress your loved ones."

This recipe features three moist layers enhanced with oranges, pecans and flaked coconut with a buttery brown sugar praline filling. Praline Filled Carrot Cake gives a twist on the traditional, covered with a cream cheese frosting and a hint of cinnamon.


Praline Filled Carrot Cake

Cake
Crisco® No-Stick Cooking Spray
16 oz. baby carrots
3 cups White Lily® All-Purpose Flour
2 2/3 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups Crisco® All Vegetable Oil
6 eggs
1 (11 oz.) can mandarin oranges, drained
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup flaked coconut

Filling
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Frosting
8 oz. cream cheese softened
1/2 cup butter softened
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup finely chopped pecans

1. Cook baby carrots in boiling water for 30 minutes or until fork tender. Coarsely mash 1 1/2 cups and set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 325° F. Spray three 8-inch round cake pans with no-stick cooking spray. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, salt, and 2 teaspoons cinnamon. Make a well in mixture; add oil, eggs, oranges, and 1 tablespoons vanilla. Beat with electric mixer for 2 minutes. Stir in carrots, 3/4 cup pecans, and coconut. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Turn out; cool completely.

3. To make filling, melt 6 tablespoons butter in a sauce pan. Stir in brown sugar and whipping cream. Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat stirring constantly for 3 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/2 cup pecans; stir until blended. Cool.

4. To make frosting, beat cream cheese, 1/2 cup butter, 2 teaspoons cinnamon and 1 teaspoon vanilla in a bowl until blended. Slowly stir in powdered sugar until smooth.

5. To assemble cake, spoon 1/4 cup of frosting onto cake plate and spread into a circle to hold the first layer of cake in place. Place one layer on top of frosting on cake plate. Spread with half the filling. Top with second layer; spread with remaining filling. Top with the third layer; frost entire cake. Garnish sides of cake with 1 cup chopped pecans.

Makes 16 servings

Crisco is a trademark of The J.M. Smucker Company

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