Fraulein N's Carrot Cake

2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
4 large eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (I'd use up to a full teaspoon)
3 cups finely grated peeled carrots (about 1 pound) (about 6 normal-size carrots; I grate mine in a food processor, although you could use a traditional grater if you have an hour to kill)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup raisins

4 cups powdered sugar
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 teaspoons vanilla extract (I'd add a teaspoon or two more, to cut the tartness of the cream cheese)

For cake:
Preheat oven to 325°F, unless you have the Oven From Hell, in which case you should wait until just before you put the cakes in to turn it on. Lightly grease three 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Line bottom of pans with waxed paper. (Pain in the ass step, but SO necessary.) Lightly grease waxed paper. Seriously, VERY lightly, unless you want your cakes to be all greasy. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and vegetable oil in bowl until combined. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg into sugar and oil mixture. Stir in carrots, chopped pecans and raisins.

Pour batter into prepared pans, dividing equally. Bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean and cakes begin to pull away from sides of pans, about 45 minutes. (This seriously took like 20 minutes in the Oven From Hell. WTF?) Cool in pans on racks 15 minutes. Turn out cakes onto racks and cool completely. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap tightly in plastic and store at room temperature.)

For frosting:
Using electric mixer, beat all ingredients in medium bowl until smooth and creamy. Watch out for rogue lumps of butter.

Place 1 cake layer on platter. Spread with 3/4 cup frosting. Top with another cake layer. Spread with 3/4 cup frosting. Top with remaining cake layer. Using icing spatula, spread remaining frosting in decorative swirls over sides and top of cake. On the other hand, if you can't figure out how to frost a cake, you probably don't belong in a kitchen.

(Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cover with cake dome and refrigerate.) Serve cake cold (Um, EW) or at room temperature.

Special thanks to Fraulein N who writes at Below The Eight.

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