Prep all of your ingredients and the baking pans:
- Preheat oven to 350F. If your pecans need toasting, place them in a bowl with 1 T melted butter and 1/8 t salt. Stir, then pour onto a sheetpan. Bake in preheated oven 8 minutes. Then roughly chop 1 cup of the pecans to go into the cake batter. Save the rest for garnishing the frosted cake.
- If using coconut, pour onto a separate sheetpan and toast 4-5 minutes until lightly browned.
- Grate carrots in food processor or with a box grater. (See Note 2)
- Butter or grease and flour 2 or 3- 9 baking pans, or grease and line them with circles of parchment paper, also buttering the parchment paper.
Prepare the cake batter:
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl and using a stand mixer or a hand mixer, beat together the softened butter, the 2 sugars until well-blended. Add the oil, beat until blended, then add eggs, 1 at a time, and beat until each is just blended.
- Measure the buttermilk. Then, to the egg and sugar mixture, alternate 3 additions of the dry ingredients with 2 additions of the buttermilk, starting and ending with the dry ingredients.
- Stir in the vanilla. Then fold in the carrots, drained pineapple, 1 cup of the toasted pecans, raisins and coconut (if using).
- Spoon batter equally into baking pans. Bake 3 pans for 22-26 minutes (mine took 24), or 2 pans for 28-32 mins. Cakes are done when a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean, and they are just beginning to pull away from the edges of the baking pan.
- Cool cakes on a wire rack in pans for 15 mins, then invert to cool completely before frosting.
Make the Frosting:
- In a metal or glass bowl, over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the white chocolate pieces, stirring regularly so the white chocolate does not burn. Set aside to cool while you whip the cream cheese.
- Using a stand- or hand-mixer, whip the room temperature cream cheese along with the brown sugar, until smooth, 2-3 minutes.
- Slowly pour the cooled melted chocolate into the cream cheese. Then add the butter, and whip until fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- Add the 2 t lemon juice and continue to whip an additional minute.
- Frost the cooled cakes. For a 3-layer cake, I like to generously frost just the tops of the layers. If you are making a 2-layer cake, there should be enough frosting to frost between the layers, the top of the cake and the sides. Garnish with remaining pecans. Refrigerate frosted cake prior to serving, and refrigerate any leftover cake.