Dulce de Leche Carrot Cake with Dulce Cream Cheese Icing

Recipe by Marcy Goldman - Marcy's Kosher Cuisine

Always popular carrot cake does a delicious double take with the addition of dulce de leche. The smooth caramel flavor blends in with carrot cake spices for a divine version of this classic. For a dulce icing, reserve 1/4 cup of the dulce de leche and whip it into the Cream Cheese Icing and you will have a lightly caramelized, dulce cream cheese frosting to wow guests.

Cake:
1 (14 ounce) can dulce de leche, with 1/4 cup removed
1 1/4 cups oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
Zest of one orange, finely minced
1/2 cup shredded, sweetened, coconut
2 cups grated carrots, packed firmly
1 cup yellow raisins, plumped and dried

Dulce Cream Cheese Icing:
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup reserved dulce de leche
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 to 3 cups confectioners' sugar
Ground walnuts, cinnamon, shredded carrots, for dusting

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously spray a 10-inch tube pan, or a 9-inch angel food pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, using a hand whisk, blend the oil, dulce de leche, sugar and eggs. Stir in vanilla extract and lemon juice.

In a smaller bowl, stir together flour, salt, cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda. Fold into wet ingredients, and add carrots, nuts, zest, coconut and raisins, stirring well. Spoon into prepared pan.

Bake until cake springs back when gently pressed, about 60 to 70 minutes. Cool well in pan, about 30 minutes, before unmolding. Make sure cake is room temperature or chilled before icing.

For the icing, in a medium bowl, whisk the cream cheese and butter to blend smoothly, and then add in the lemon juice, vanilla extract and dulce de leche. Fold in confectioners' sugar to make a thick icing. Spread over cooled cake. (This is not a thick icing.)

Dust top with grated carrots in center and sprinkle with ground walnuts and a touch of cinnamon.

Makes 10 to 12 servings. This cake freezes well.