This recipe is from Ms Mildred "Mama Dip" Council from Chapel Hill, NC. Her restaurat, Mama Dip's is the best soul food in the country and this cake is the best carrot cake ever tasted. My daughter, now 31yrs old has always requested carrot cake on her birthday and this year she got Mama Dip's and ate almost half the cake!!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. You can either arrange plain walnuts in a single layer in a shallow pan and bake 12 minutes or until toasted or buy Blue Diamond candy coated walnuts (which is what I do)and not bake. Process walnuts until slightly ground.
Sift together flour, cinnamon and baking soda. Spray bottoms and sides of three 9-inch cake pans with cooking spray. Beat sugar and oil at medium speed until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Gradually add flour mixture, beating at low speed just until blended after each addition. Fold in carrots - you may also fold in 1 cup walnuts if desired. Bake 40 minutes or until wooden toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack 10 minutes, remove from pans and place back onto wire racks; let cool an additional hour or until completely cool.
Spread frosting over first layer, sprinkle with ground walnuts. Put second layer on top of first layer, spread with frosting and again sprinkle with the ground walnuts. Place third layer on top of second layer, spread with frosting both on top of cake and all around the sides. Sprinkle the top of the cake with the remaining ground walnuts.
MY ADDITION TO CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:
I can never make a cream cheese frosting to taste any better than the store bought, so I always use the ones from the store BUT I add some Bailey's Irish Cream to the frosting - just enough to give it a slight tint of tan and not to runny. It gives the frosting an encredible taste!!