My friend Tana first made this cake and left it in our refrigerator for us to enjoy when we returned home from a trip. What a sweet surprise, literally! This cake has become a regular dessert at our house and a popular request for birthdays. I think what makes it unique is that it is cut into six layers. The pureed carrots make for a smoother cake. Of course, at my house, nobody cares about that, they just think it’s good!
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease the bottom of three 9-inch round cake pans with cooking spray, line with circles of parchment paper, and grease the paper with cooking spray.
With an electric mixer, cream the sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the sugar mixture. Add the walnuts, coconut, carrot puree, and pineapple, and beat until smooth. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool the layers in the pans for about 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of each pan and turn the layers out onto wire racks that have been sprayed with cooking spray. Cool the layers completely before frosting (see Note).
To make the frosting, combine the cream cheese and butter in an electric mixer and beat until smooth. Slowly add the confectioners’ sugar and continue beating until fully combined. Add the vanilla.
Slice each layer horizontally in half using an electric knife. Frost each layer, the sides, and the top of the cake. Press the chopped walnuts into the sides of the cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
After the layers have cooled, wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. They are easier to handle and cut in half the next day. Also, to handle as little as possible, put the first layer of cake on the plate you intend to store it on, slice it in half, ease a piece of parchment between the layers, and lift the top portion off. Frost the bottom slice, and then add the next layer. Continue until the entire cake is frosted.