Carrot Cake with Lemon Frosting


1 pound carrots -- peeled, shredded
1 cup corn oil
8 ounces crushed unsweetened pineapple -- drained
4 eggs -- (large)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups walnuts -- coursely chopped
1 pound cream cheese -- room temperature
1 1/4 cups unsalted butter -- room temperature
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 2/3 cups powdered sugar -- sifted


For Cake: Preheat oven to 350 deg. Butter three 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Line bottoms with waxed paper. Butter paper. Mix together oil, pineapple, eggs, vanilla and carrots. Mix flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Stir into oil mixture. Mix in walnuts. Divide batter among prepared pans. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cook cakes in pans on racks.

For Frosting: Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese, butter, lemon juice and vanilla until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in sugar. Chill until firm but spreadable, about 1 hour.

Turn cakes out of pans; peel off waxed paper. Place 1 cake on platter. Spread 3/4 cup frosting over. Top with second cake. Spread 3/4 cup frosting over. Top with third cake. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome and refrigerate. Let stand 3 hours at room temperature before serving.) Garnish cake with flowers.

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