Moist and incredibly flavorful, this Carrot Cake with Orange Grand Marnier Cream Cheese Frosting is delicate and perfectly balanced. The fluffy Orange Grand Marnier Cream Cheese Frosting is amazing and brings this cake to another level of deliciousness!
Let me start by saying that the best carrot cake I’ve ever eaten is made by my dear friend and Chef Chris Passmore Massa. She is the queen of carrot cake (and many other delicious recipes). I met Chris at culinary school and we’ve been friends ever since.
She has always inspired me and has helped me through many culinary endeavors. She’s been there for me as a culinary expert, recipe tester, restaurant opening planner, everything-gourmet idea giver, onion chopper, coffee sharer, wine drinking partner and most important – friend!
Chris may share many things, but her carrot cake recipe is top secret (I can’t blame her, I am not planning on sharing my homemade brownie recipe with anyone ever!) He-he!
Since we love carrot cake and we don’t live close to Chris anymore, I had to put on my big girl chef coat and come up with my own version of this dessert. After all, carrot cake is my oldest son’s favorite cake and what he requests for his birthday every year.
Carrot Cake with Orange Grand Marnier Cream Cheese Frosting
I am happy to say that this Carrot Cake with Orange Grand Marnier Cream Cheese Frosting is amazing! It’s not too sweet (we are not big into overly sweet sugary desserts or pastries). The spices are well balanced, the crushed pineapple highlights the natural sweetness of the carrots, the chopped pecans intensify the flavors, and the frosting, oh the frosting!!! The Orange Grand Marnier Cream Cheese frosting is delicate and fluffy and not overly sweet! Just perfect!
I am also calling this simple and wonderful Carrot Cake with Orange Grand Marnier Cream Cheese Frosting a “naked cake” because it doesn’t have frosting covering the entire cake. There’s a bit of frosting in between the layers and more on the the top with some orange zest as garnish. This helps keeping the calories down, right?
If you love cake decorating. you can go all out! For me, simplicity is best. I’m not very patient when it comes to cake decorating so rustic and understated is always in for me.
So until I can get a carrot cake from my friend Chris shipped right to my door, this is the carrot cake I’m sticking with! You can call it the next best thing!
You will need about 1 extra hour to cool off the cakes before frosting
- 3 (9-inch) round cake pans
- Electric mixer
- Pastry bag with round tip (optional)
- Non stick cooking spray
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 1/2` cups brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
- 6 large eggs
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon grand marnier liquor
- 4 cups grated carrot
- 1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained and squeezed from its juice
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
- 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted batter
- 2 cups powder sugar
- 2 tablespoons grand marnier liquor
- zest of 1 orange plus more for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
Spray 3 (9-inch) round baking pans with non stick cooking spray and line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and ginger. Set aside.
In another bowl or in the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the sugar and oil just until well combined. Beat in the eggs one at a time and then the vanilla and grand marnier until combined. Add in the flour mixture and stir to combine. Fold in the carrots, crushed pineapple and chopped pecans until well blended. Don't overmix the batter.
Distribute the batter evenly into 3 (9-inch) round baking pans. Place in the preheated oven and bake for about 40 -50 minutes or until the cake is fully set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool cakes in the pans for about 1 hour.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter and powder sugar. Add the grand marnier and orange zest and mix for about 3 minutes or until light and fluffy.
Assemble the Cake
When completely cool, remove the cake layers from the pans. Place one layer on a cake plate. Using an offset spatula, spread a quarter of the frosting over the top of the layer, taking care to spread it all the way to the edges. Top with a cake layer and repeat with the frosting. Add the remaining cake layer and smooth the remaining frosting neatly over the top. Garnish the top with orange zest.