Ummm, can I go out and say, best carrot cake ever?!

Strawberry Coconut Carrot Cake with Mascarpone Buttercream | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

Because I really, really want to! I hate when I’m always saying things are the best, but you guy, I really do not know how else to describe this cake. Three coconutty, carrot cake layers, frosted generously with the most delicious whipped mascarpone buttercream, and topped with fresh spring strawberries. Yup, see…best ever. Or at least it’s the best carrot cake I’ve ever had, which granted, I really haven’t had many carrot cakes, but I think you get what I’m trying to say here…

Plus, not only is this cake delicious, it’s super pretty too! Which you guys know is something I’m all about. If something can be pretty AND taste good, well that is just a major bonus for me!

This cake is the perfect way to be kicking off the weekend, right?! YES. Which by the way, hey, hi! Happy Friday! I feel like I just jumped right on into things here with some serious cake details, but as I’m sure you’ve noticed, I am a little exited about this recipe! OkOK, and the fact that it’s Friday just adds to the excitement! Anyone else totally ready for an awesome weekend?

It was a long but great week over here. I love that my weeks are jam-packed and feel really productive. All the more reason to end with cake and celebrate just a little! <–smart reasoning, trust me.

Strawberry Coconut Carrot Cake with Mascarpone Buttercream | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest Strawberry Coconut Carrot Cake with Mascarpone Buttercream | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

Here’s the deal, with Easter right around the corner, I am definitely in the baking mood. When I think about Easter eats, I think of ham, lamb, asparagus, pineapple, carrot cake, milk chocolate bunnies and strawberry filled desserts. Reading that sentence out loud, it sounds like a complete random mix of foods, but I dunno, those are just traditional Easter eats to me. What do you think of when thinking about your Easter menu?

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Anyway, carrot cake is a classic. Thing is, you guys know that I’m typically all about chocolate cakes. I mean, the more chocolate the better! DUH.

I only recently started getting into baking fruity desserts, and while I will not deny that I don’t love them same way as say, something like this chocolate cake, I’m still loving having fun with them, and this cake is no exception. Hello, the whipped mascarpone buttercream alone is reason enough to bake this one up.

Strawberry Coconut Carrot Cake with Mascarpone Buttercream | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest Strawberry Coconut Carrot Cake with Mascarpone Buttercream | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

The idea of carrot cake has always sounded a bit off to me. I love carrots, but I love them roasted or raw, why would I want them in my cake? It’s always something I wondered about, but then last year I finally made a carrot cake cheesecake and my view on carrot cake changed forever. I finally understood what all the hype was about. Not only do the carrots add major moistness to the cake, but the sweet flavor they give off is surprisingly delicious.

This year, I decided to step things up a notch and go all out…after all, I do love a good over the top cake. Muahahaha 🙂

The base layers for this cake are made of vanilla cake, flavored with cinnamon, carrots and tons of sweet shredded coconut. The coconut is probably my favorite part. It lends a really nice sweet, almost tropical flavor, to the cake that pairs really well with the strawberries in the frosting…which oh my gosh, this buttercream (or frosting, I never really know whether to call it frosting or buttercream, but I like buttercream), my mom says you could top off just about anything with this buttercream and turn it into something so delish.

It’s pretty traditional for carrot cake to have a cream cheese frosting, but I loved the sound of strawberries and mascarpone together, so I went for it…such a good idea. Especially paired with the super moist and coconutty carrot cake layers. It’s kind of like Italian cake meets carrot cake. Promise, it’s all things awesome and perfect.

Strawberry Coconut Carrot Cake with Mascarpone Buttercream | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

While the cake looks all fancy, it’s actually pretty easy to make. Simply bake the cake layers, make the buttercream, frost the cake and DONE. Nothing complicated about it, which is great for any kind of holiday dessert.

OH, and while the chamomile flowers are optional, I love the pretty spring touch they add, and yes, they are edible!

This cake would be perfect for Easter or Mother’s Day, but also makes for a great weekend treat. I don’t know about you guys, but this week has left me feeling the need to celebrate its end with cake. Long work days and dealing with some online haters means cake is for sure a good idea…but then, cake is always a good idea!

I mean, ALWAYS.

Strawberry Coconut Carrot Cake with Mascarpone Buttercream | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest Strawberry Coconut Carrot Cake with Mascarpone Buttercream | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest
Strawberry Coconut Carrot Cake with Mascarpone Buttercream | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest
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5 from 1 vote
The Recipe

Strawberry Coconut Carrot Cake with Mascarpone Buttercream

Cake recipe adapted from Martha Stewart. 

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 0 makes one (3 layer) cake

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups canola oil
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 pound carrots, grated
  • 1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut

Strawberry Mascarpone Frosting

  • 8 ounces mascarpone or cream cheese, softened
  • 2 sticks salted butter, softened
  • 2-3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup freeze dried strawberries, ground until a fine powder
  • 1 cup fresh chopped strawberries

Instructions

  1. 1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three 8-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter/spray with cooking spray.

    2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.

    3. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand held mixer) beat together the canola oil, buttermilk, eggs, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Beat in the carrots and coconut. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients with the mixer on low until there are no longer any clumps of flour. Batter should be pourable, but not super thin. 

    4. Pour the batter among the 3 cake pans and bake 25-30 minutes, until the tops are just set and no longer wiggly in the center. Remove and let cool five minutes, then run a knife around the edges of the pan and turn the cakes out onto a cooling rack. Cover and let the cakes cool completely before assembling.

    5. To make the frosting, add the cream cheese and butter to a large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat another 2-4 minutes or until the frosting is light and fluffy. Beat in the strawberry powder. 

    6. Place one cake layer on a serving plate or cake stand. Spread a little frosting. Top with half the strawberries. Repeat with the remaining 2 cake layers. Be careful not to over fill your layers with fruit. Frost the cake sides. 

Strawberry Coconut Carrot Cake with Mascarpone Buttercream | halfbakedharvest.com @hbharvest

That cake slice right there, it is to die for!