Everything you love about carrot cake (namely, the cream cheese frosting) slow cooked to a super moist and delectable consistency. If you’re nervous about splitting a cake into two layers, here’s a trick: stick toothpicks halfway up the sides of the cake at several intervals around its edge. Place a serrated knife right around the toothpicks and use them as your guide. It’s easier if your knife is longer than your cake, that way you can watch your progress from both sides. We like the Victorinox Cutlery 9-inch Wavy Edge Bread Knife.
Butter for greasing pan
1½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
½ cup canola oil
⅓ cup packed light brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup whole buttermilk
1 large egg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Dash of freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup grated peeled carrots (about 2 medium carrots)
Tightly twist a 3-foot length of aluminum foil to create a rack for slow cooker. Shape foil into a zigzag across bottom of 5- to 6-quart round or oval slow cooker, and add water. Place lid on slow cooker, and set on LOW. Grease and flour an 8-inch round cake pan.
Beat oil, brown sugar, granulated sugar, buttermilk, egg, and vanilla with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and thickened, about 1 minute. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl. Sprinkle half of flour mixture over oil mixture, and fold gently to combine. Repeat with remaining flour mixture. Fold in carrots and, if desired, nuts. Pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing top.
Place pan in slow cooker, and press into foil rack to ensure pan is level. Drape a clean kitchen towel over slow cooker, and place lid over towel. Pull towel taut under lid. Cook on LOW until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 2 hours. Cool cake in pan on a wire rack until just cool enough to handle, about 20 minutes. Place a piece of parchment paper on a wire rack, and invert cake onto parchment. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
Split cake into 2 even layers using a serrated knife. Place 1 layer on a cake plate, and top with about 1 cup of the Cream Cheese Frosting, spreading frosting to edges, but not over the side of the cake. Top with second layer, and spread remaining frosting over top, leaving sides exposed.
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