Carrot Layer Cake with Ginger Cream Cheese Mousse
"I slice my cakes in half horizontally to get four layers, but you could easily make this into a two-layer cake. Especially when it’s warm out, cream cheese frosting tends to be on the runny side, so here I opted for a lighter, more stable cream cheese mousse with just a hint of ginger flavor."
2 large eggs
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
¾ cup (150g) vegetable oil (or sub any neutral oil)
1½ tsp Royal Cinnamon
¼ tsp Grenada Gold Nutmeg, grated on a microplane
¼ tsp Buffalo Ginger
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1⅓ cup (160g) all-purpose flour
1½ cups (220g) finely grated carrots
2 cups (454g) heavy whipping cream
1½ tsp Buffalo Ginger
1 cup (120g) powdered sugar
½ tsp cream of tartar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
8 oz. cream cheese, cold
Crystallized ginger, finely chopped
For the cake
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two 6-inch round, 2-inch deep cake pans and line the bottom with parchment rounds.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, granulated sugar, vegetable oil, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the flour and gently stir with a rubber spatula to combine. Add the grated carrots and mix until incorporated.
Evenly divide the batter between the two cake pans and bake for about 30 minutes, rotating halfway through, until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
Allow the cakes cool in the pans for about 15 minutes, then run a small offset spatula around the edges of the cakes to loosen. Place them on a rack to cool.
For the mousse
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream ginger, powdered sugar, cream of tartar, and vanilla extract. Start on low and gradually increase to high, beating until stiff peaks form. Transfer to a separate bowl and keep in the refrigerator.
In the same stand mixer bowl (no need to clean it) now fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cold cream cheese on high speed until it reaches a spreadable and smooth consistency, about 3 minutes.
Scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula and switch to a whisk attachment. Add in the whipped cream mixture and beat at medium speed until completely smooth. The texture should be light but stiff.
Assemble & Decorate
Place one of the cakes on a turntable, and using a large serrated knife, level the tops of the cakes to create a flat surface. Use the knife to score the entire outside edge of the cake halfway up the side. Cut through the cake along the indentation made, using a gentle sawing motion. Use the knife to lift the top layer off of the bottom layer. Repeat with the second cake, for a total of four cake layers.
To frost the cake, place one layer of cake cut-side up on a cardboard cake round. Add about ½ cup of mousse to the center, and using an offset spatula, smooth the mousse all the way to the edges of the layer. Repeat this process twice more. Top with the last layer, cut-side down, and use the remaining mousse to cover the top and the sides of the cake. If you want to top the cake with crystallized ginger and/or fresh flowers, sprinkle on these ingredients now, while the frosting is soft. Place the cake into the refrigerator for 15 minutes to chill slightly before serving.
Make ahead: Cake layers can be baked, cooled, and covered tightly at room temperature overnight. Similarly, the frosting can be prepared then covered and refrigerated overnight.
Unfrosted cake layers can be frozen up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before decorating and serving.