I saw Trisha Yearwood prepare this on a daytime talk show, and it looked so good that I really wanted to make it. I never thought of first cooking carrots before preparing a carrot cake, nor did I think to slice the layers. But it makes it look so scrumptious. Prep time doesn't include the overnight refrigeration.
FOR THE CAKE: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease the bottom of three 9-inch, round cake pans with cooking spray, line with circles of parchment paper, and grease the paper with cooking spray. Set prepared pans aside.
With an electric mixer, cream the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla. Sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the sugar mixture. Add the walnuts, coconut, carrot puree and pineapple. Beat until smooth.
Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans and bake for 40 to 45 minutes at 350°F or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool the layers in the pans for about 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of each pan and turn the layers out onto wire racks that have been sprayed with cooking spray. Cool the layers completely before frosting. (Note: After the layers have cooled, cutting will be much easier if you wrap each cooled cake layer in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.).
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING: Combine the cream cheese and butter in an electric mixer and beat until smooth. Slowly add the confectioners' sugar and continue beating until fully combined. Add the vanilla.
Slice each cake layer horizontally in half using an electric knife. Ease a piece of parchment between the layers and lift off the top portion. Frost the bottom slice then add the next layer. Continue until the entire cake is frosted.
Press the chopped walnuts into the sides of the cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve.