Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat two 9-inch-round cake pans with cooking spray; line the bottoms with parchment paper. Spread the walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until lightly toasted, about 5 minutes. Let cool, then finely chop.
Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and salt onto a large piece of parchment (or into a medium bowl). Beat the granulated sugar, brown sugar and vegetable oil in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium high and add the eggs, one at a time; beat until light and smooth, about 2 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to low; add the applesauce, orange zest and vanilla and beat until just smooth. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Add the carrots and 3/4 cup walnuts and beat until just combined.
Divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool 10 minutes in the pans, then remove to the rack to cool completely; remove the parchment. (The cake layers can be made a day ahead; let cool completely, then wrap in plastic wrap.)
Make the frosting: Peel the ginger and grate onto a piece of cheesecloth. Wrap in the cheesecloth and squeeze the juice into a small bowl (you should get about 1 tablespoon). Add the orange juice and vanilla to the bowl. Beat the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Beat in the juice mixture. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually beat in the confectioners' sugar. Increase the mixer speed to high and beat until smooth, about 2 more minutes.
Place 1 cake layer on a platter, rounded-side down. Spread with 1 cup frosting, then top with the second cake layer, rounded-side down. Cover the top and sides with the remaining frosting. Press the remaining walnuts into the sides of the cake. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.
Tools You May Need
Photograph by Con Poulos
Courtesy of Food Network Magazine
Tools You May Need
Price and stock may change after publish date, and we may make money off