This cake is to DIE for! Soooo good with a very unique, rich flavor. It's definitely the best carrot cake I've ever had. The frosting is amazing and would taste great on any cake or even sugar cookies. I was just making this for our family and some friends, nothing fancy, so I baked the cake in a 9x13 baking dish. As you will see, the recipe is actually intended to make two 9" round cakes, stacked on top of each other, with frosting in-between. If you want to just make a simple 9x13, HALF the recipe for the frosting, otherwise you'll have a ton leftover.
1 pkg. (18-1/4 oz.) spice cake mix
1 pkg. (3.4 oz.) instant vanilla pudding mix
3/4 c. water
1/2 c. sour cream
1/4 c. canola oil
1 c. shredded carrots
1 can (8 oz.) unsweetened crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 c. flaked coconut
1/2 c. chopped pecans
1/4 c. raisins
1 c. butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
6 c. confectioners' sugar
1/2 c. caramel ice cream topping
1 to 2 Tbsp. 2% milk
*In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, water, sour cream and oil; beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on medium for 2 minutes. Fold in the carrots, pineapple, coconut, pecans and raisins just until blended. Pour into two greased and floured 9-in. baking pans.
*Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
*For frosting, in a large bowl, beat butter and cream cheese until fluffy. Add the confectioners' sugar, ice cream topping and enough milk to achieve desired consistency. Spread frosting between layers and over the top and sides of cake. Store in the refrigerator.