The original recipe for this cake called for dried apricots, however, I am not a fan of dried fruits in cakes because they remind me too much of fruitcake and panettone, which I can only stomach during the holidays. Instead, I used a combination of toasted walnuts and almonds (and if I had pecans, I would have used that too). The toasted nuts give nice texture to this super moist and flavorful cake.
The shredded carrots add another dimension of sweetness that complement the brown sugar cream cheese between the two layers. I also did a crumb coat with the same cream cheese and then frosted the entire cake in a subtle but very tasty caramel buttercream. I made a couple mini roses out of pink colored marzipan to decorate the top. As I was slicing the cake, I remembered I had some gum paste sweet peas I put together a couple days ago that surprisingly match my grandmother’s antique cake plates quite well.