Laurie's Amazing Carrot Cake is the last carrot cake recipe you will ever need. This super moist cake is full of carrots, buttermilk and the secret ingredients: raisins and nuts ground together for sweetness and texture!
Set rack in middle of oven. Preheat oven to 325 degrees for at least 15 minutes before baking.
Prepare cake pans by lining the bottom with parchment paper, and spraying the bottom and sides of pans lightly with cooking spray.
Grind the pecans and raisins in a food processor with a metal blade. Pulse until chopped into very small pieces, set aside.
Beat the eggs, oil and buttermilk together in a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer until blended well.
Add all of the dry ingredients, including the nuts and raisins to the wet ingredients. Mix until all ingredients are incorporated. Stop mixer once and scrap sides and bottom to mix thoroughly. Do not over mix.
Pour into prepared pans, lined with parchment paper. Fill pans 3/4 full.
Bake at 325 degrees for about 1 hour if using 9-10 inch Spring form pans. Bake for about 45 minutes for round cake pans. Test with toothpick to see if done before removing from oven.
After removing from oven, wrap each layer individually with saran wrap and place in freezer while still warm.
Remove the cake from freezer after cake is cooled and frozen or at least cold. Place one layer on a platter and apply one layer of frosting to top of first layer. Place second layer on top of first. Frost the top of the second layer, and frost the sides of the cake with a thin layer of frosting. Return to freezer.
Let cake freeze again until the frosting is firm. Remove and frost outer sides and top of cake again. At this point you can either place back in freezer until ready to use, or let sit out to thaw.
If making the cake in advance of serving day, cover the cake when frosting is set with plastic wrap and store in freezer.
On day of serving, remove cake from freezer 2-3 hours before serving.
Beat the butter and cream cheese in a mixer until smooth.
Add vanilla OR lemon, salt and about 3 cups of powdered sugar. Beat until smooth.
Add rest of powdered sugar a cup at a time with the mixer on medium speed. Add milk or cream to desired consistency, beat for about 2-3 minutes on high, scraping down sides of bowl a few times.
Frost the cake as directed. See recipe notes for amount of frosting to make if making 4 layers and frosting at one time. Refrigerate any leftovers!