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Recipes Desserts:

Carrot Cake Trifle

Developed by Jenny Huang & Athena Calderone
Carrot Cake Trifle


Makes 8 12-ounce cups

Carrot Cake:

  • unsalted butter, for greasing the pans
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • ½ cup apple sauce
  • 1 pound carrots, trimmed, peeled, and coarsely grated (about 3 cups of lightly packed cups)

Ginger Sherry Syrup

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • 1 inch nub ginger, microplaned

Candied Pecans

Mascarpone Cheese Frosting:

  • 14 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Zest and juice 1 lemon
  • 2 cups whipping cream

The Prep

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Butter and flour a 9 by 13-inch baking pan.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients by whisking together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ground ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon
  4. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, on low, first beat the brown sugar until it is all loosened up. Add the vanilla extract. Then gradually beat in the eggs one at a time, until smooth and incorporated. Scrape down the sides and add the oil in a slow steady stream. Finally mix in the apple sauce.
  5. Use a rubber spatula to fold the dry ingredients in three batches. Do not overmix. Fold in the carrots.
  6. Pour the batter into the baking pan, smooth out the top. Bake until the cake has risen and a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean, about 35-40 mins. Transfer to a wire rack. Allow to cool completely.
  7. In the meantime, prepare the ginger sherry syrup, candied pecans, and mascarpone cheese frosting.
  8. For the ginger sherry syrup: Bring sugar, water, and sherry to a simmer in a saucepan, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Turn of the stove. Add the grated ginger. Let cool completely.
  9. For the candied pecans: Brown the butter over medium-high heat. Add pecans and toss to coat. Add sugar and salt, and stir until caramelized. Spread on wax paper and cool.
  10. For the mascarpone cheese frosting: Whisk together the first 4 ingredients in a large bowl just until blended. Beat whipping cream at medium speed with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Gently fold into mascarpone mixture.
  11. Once the cake and syrup are cooled, use a cake tester to poke small holes all over the cake. Brush all over with the syrup.
  12. For assembly: In 8 12-oz glasses, add about 1 inch high of cake, then 2 tablespoons of frosting, and then 1 single layer of candied pecans. Repeat the first two layers. Top with additional chopped candied pecans. Refrigerate for up to 24 hours if not eating immediately.
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