Tag Archives: Dorie Greenspan

Crazy for You Coconut Rice Pudding

I do love rice pudding: it’s rich and creamy, involves very little chewing (I’m not lazy, just a slow eater) and can be eaten with a little spoon, slowly, one delicate bite at a time. I also adore coconut and in all forms, edible and not: in savory dishes and sweet desserts, in body lotions, in candles and in perfumes. So you can imagine how happy coconut rice pudding makes me!

This recipe (an adapted Dorie Greenspan courtesy of Slow Like Honey) is actually incredible. I think it’s because most of the “cooking” is actually done in the refrigerator. The pudding sits in the fridge for at least 6 hours, the rice slowly absorbing the coconut milk. I never want to eat plain rice pudding ever again! Oh, joy, and this is so simple to make too. I changed the amounts a bit, but followed the directions as stated. That said, I think you could just as easily skip some of the steps, like the whole parboiling business—I’m pretty sure no major harm would come of skipping this. However, though listed as optional, do please add raisins and do serve it topped with chopped almonds; they make every biteful full of crunch and juicy pop.


Coconut Rice Pudding (adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home To Yours via Slow Like Honey)

printable recipe


scant 1/2 cup Arborio rice

2 cups water

1-13.5 oz can unsweetened coconut milk

1 cup whole milk

1/3 cup sugar

1 tbsp vanilla extract

1/3 cup raisins or other dried fruit of your choice (optional)

handful almonds, roughly chopped (optional)


  1. Put the rice and water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the temperature and cook the rice, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Drain the rice in a strainer and rinse it; set aside.
  2. Rinse out the saucepan, then pour in the whole milk and coconut milk, stir in the sugar, and set the pan over medium heat. When the milk mixture boils, stir in the parboiled rice and raisins. Reduce the heat to low and let the mixture bubble away gently, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes. As the pudding gets close to done, the rice kernels will be visible in the boiling milk- you’ll see them floating under the top layer of milk. The pudding won’t be thick- that’s okay (it will thicken in the refrigerator)- but the rice will be soft and it will have absorbed 80 to 90 percent of the milk.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and decide what flavor you’d like the pudding to be- add either the vanilla or chocolate and stir gently until it is fully blended in to the pudding.
  4. Pour the pudding into a serving bowl or into individual cups or bowls. Press plastic wrap against the surface of the pudding to prevent it from forming a skin, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, until thoroughly cold. Serve topped with chopped almonds.


Feelin’ Fine French Pear Tart

I can’t explain why, but lately I just feel like celebrating—celebrating Spring, family, and my peaceful life. And I have chosen to show my gratitude the best way I know how: by baking.

I couldn’t wait to get home yesterday and make this French pear tart. It’s another Dorie masterpiece: elegant pear fans baked into a rich almond cream sitting atop a light, buttery crust. (Oh my goodness, I’m almost drooling over my own words.)

This may look complicated to make, but really it isn’t. I was pleasantly surprised at how uncomplicated it actually was to put everything together. The only adjustment I made to the recipe was to use a sweet pastry dough recipe from my Swiss TipTopf cookbook. The thing I love most about this dough is that I can do it by hand. Maybe it’s just me, but I love the feeling of cold butter and flour rubbing between my fingertips. For once, it’s actually a good thing to have cold hands (besides the whole “cold hands, warm heart” thing :P)—the butter doesn’t melt when I mix it into the flour.

Apart from the dough, I followed everything Dorie said to do. You know, it really does pay off to the follow directions and to measure exactly (and I was exact down to the gram). I don’t know why my pears are so brown. I’m not too upset about it because the taste more than made up for the slightly odd appearance. The golden crust is flaky and crisp, the pears are tender (but not mushy) and the almond cream—infused with sweet pear juice—is so incredibly smoooooth.

So will I be making this again? Oh, yes! What a way to celebrate all the good things in life!


French Pear Tart (adapted from TipTopf and Dorie Greenspan’s recipe from Baking From My Home to Yours)

Makes one 26 cm springform tart

Sweet Tart Pastry (Muerbeteig)

200 g all purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

100 g very cold unsalted butter, diced

2-3 tsp evaporated cane sugar

zest of 1/2 an organic lemon, grated

1 egg, at room temp. , whisked

2 tbsp cold water

Almond Cream

3 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temp.

150 g evaporated cane sugar

150 g ground almonds

1 large egg

1 tsp flour

1 tsp cornstarch

1 tsp vanilla extract


3 pears


Sweet Tart Pastry

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Add the butter and with your fingertips, gently rub flour and butter together until evenly combined.
  2. Mix in the sugar and grated lemon zest.
  3. Make a well in the dry mixture. Pour the egg and water into the well and with a fork, very quickly whisk the flour into the egg (working from the outside in). Once the dough starts forming, use your hands to gently pat it into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. (Or you can press the dough into the springform first—I put a plastic sandwich bag on my hand to do this, in order to avoid sticking and overhandling—and then chill.)
  4. While the dough is chilling, pre-heat the oven to 428 F (220 C).
  5. Fit a piece of tin foil tightly against the dough. Bake for 15-20 minutes on the center rack. Once finished baking, carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed up, use the back of a spoon to gently push it back down.

Almond Cream

  1. Put the butter and sugar in the workbowl of a food processor and process until the mixture is smooth and satiny. Add the ground almonds and continue to process until well blended.
  2. Add the flour and cornstarch, process, and then add the egg.  Process for about 15 seconds more, or until the almond cream is homogeneous. Add the rum or vanilla and process just to blend.

If you prefer, you can make the cream in a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in a bowl with a rubber spatula.  In either case, the ingredients are added in the same order.  Scrape the almond cream into a container and either use it immediately or refrigerate it until firm, about 2 hours.


  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Have a lined baking sheet at the ready.
  2. If you are using fresh (unpoached) pears, peel them now.  If you are using poached or unpoached pears, cut them in half from blossom to stem and core them; rub the unpoached pears with lemon juice.  Whatever pears you have, make sure to pat them dry – really dry – so that their liquid won’t keep the almond cream from baking.
  3. Fill the baked crust with the almond cream, spreading it even with an offset metal icing spatula.
  4. Thinly slice each pear half crosswise, lift each half on a spatula, press down on the pear to fan it slightly and place it, wide-end toward the edge of the crust, over the almond cream.  The halves will form spokes.
  5. Put the crust on the lined baking sheet, slide the sheet into the oven and bake the tart 50 to 60 minutes, or until the almond cream puffs up around the pears and browns.  Transfer the tart to a rack to cool to just warm or to room temperature before unmolding.
  6. Right before serving, dust the tart with confectioners’ sugar.  If you prefer, prepare a glaze by bringing about 1/4 cup apple jelly and1/2 teaspoon water to the boil.  Brush the glaze over the surface of the tart.

Strawberry Thumbprints

Dorie, I adore thee.

These thumbprints are ahhhh-mazing. Seriously. Could be the ground almonds or perhaps it’s the sinful amount of butter that makes them so light and crisp. You barely even have to chew—God, that sounds lazy—they just crumble and melt away in your mouth.

I don’t really have anything to say about the prep or baking process. After baking, I opted not to dust the cookies with powdered sugar; they are sweet enough for me. Plus, the jam-filled center provides more sweetness.

Strawberry Thumbprints (adapted Dorie Greenspan recipe from Une Gamine dans la Cuisine)


1/2 cup + a well-rounded 1/4 cup of finely ground almonds

1/2 cup + 1/4 + 1/8 of a cup of all purpose flour

8 Tablespoons (1 stick) of butter, at room temp.

1/4 cup of sugar

1/4 teaspoon of almond extract

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

About 1/2-1 cup of your favourite jam(s)

Confectioners sugar for dusting (optional)

Cookie Dough

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the ground almonds, and flour. Set aside.
  2. In a separate larger bowl, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add both extracts and beat to blend. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the nut-flour mixture, mixing only until it is incorporated into the dough. Cover and refrigerate for about 20-30 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Set them aside.
  4. Working with a well-rounded teaspoonful of dough at a time, roll the dough into balls and place them about 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Steadying each cookie with your fingers, use the back of a quarter-teaspoon to make e a hole in the center of each cookie. Be careful not to go all the way down to the baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 13-16 minutes. The cookies should only be slightly browned. They may look underdone, which is fine. You don’t want to overbake them. When the cookies are baked, remove the baking sheets from the oven and let the cookies rest on their sheets for 2 minutes before transferring them to cooling racks. If the holes have puffed up during baking, gently push them in again with the end of a wooden spoon (be sure to do this while they are still warm.) Place the cooling racks over a sheet of paper towel or parchment paper and sift some confectioners sugar over all the cookies. (I didn’t do this—didn’t feel it was necessary.)


  1. In a small saucepan, bring the jam to just a boil over low heat. You can also do this in the microwave. (Microwave was fine.) Fill the holes of all the cookies with enough of the hot jam to come to level with the tops. Cool to room temperature.

Liso’s French B-day Brownies

A little birthday treat for my littlest Liso who celebrated her big 28 last Friday.

I needed something that was compact and easy to transport—and something that would not make me look totally ridiculous waiting in line at the club (so much for that one—one club manager thought I brought my make-up kit). Brownies seemed like the wisest choice, yet again.

I could never get sick of brownies (baking or eating), but they are far from what I would call pretty. They’re  frumpy, brown squares—not exactly delicate or eye-catching. So how do you turn something ho-hum into something ta-dah?

You call them French (or at least, according to Dorie Greenspan, French-inspired) and all of a sudden you’ve upped the ooh la la quotient in a major way. That’s exactly what Dorie did in her recipe for French Chocolate Brownies (not sure why she thought it necessary to include “chocolate” in the title).

The base recipe is basic; same story with the method. And the resulting texture is good: crackly top and smooth and creamy middle. What makes these different is  Greenspan’s addition of rum, raisins and a dash of cinnamon to the batter, nothing fancy by any means, but oh, what a difference they make.  You’ll love these for the same reason you love rum-raisin ice cream—for that warm all over and ever so slightly naughty sensation you get when you eat them. (^o^”)

By the way, I substituted vanilla extract for the rum—I didn’ t have any at home, and vanilla was the closest thing I could find that has a similar alcohol flavor.

Dorie Greenspan’s French Chocolate Brownies (original from Baking From My Home to Yours and adapted by Dorie here on Serious Eats)

makes 16 brownies


1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/8 tsp salt

1/8 tsp cinnamon (optional)

1/3 cup raisins, dark or golden

1 1/2 tbsp water

1 1/2 tbsp dark rum (I replaced this with 1 tsp vanilla)

6 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

1 1/2 sticks (12 tbsp / 6 oz) unsalted butter, at room temp and cut into 12 pieces

3 large eggs, at room temp.

1 cup sugar


  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 300°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil, butter the foil, place the pan on a baking sheet, and set aside.
  2. Whisk together the flour, salt and cinnamon, if you’re using it.Put the raisins in a small saucepan with the water, bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until the water almost evaporates. Add the rum, let it warm for about 30 seconds, turn off the heat, stand back and ignite the rum. Allow the flames to die down, and set the raisins aside until needed. (I obviously didn’t do this last part as I used vanilla—just added it straight to the raisins.)
  3. Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Slowly and gently melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and add the butter, stirring so that it melts. It’s important that the chocolate and butter not get very hot. However, if the butter is not melting, you can put the bowl back over the still-hot water for a minute. If you’ve got a couple of little bits of unmelted butter, leave them—it’s better to have a few bits than to overheat the whole. Set the chocolate aside for the moment.
  4. Working with a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until they are thick and pale, about 2 minutes. Lower the mixer speed and pour in the chocolate-butter, mixing only until it is incorporated—you’ll have a thick, creamy batter. Add the dry ingredients and mix at low speed for about 30 seconds—the dry ingredients won’t be completely incorporated and that’s fine. Finish folding in the dry ingredients by hand with a rubber spatula, then fold in the raisins along with any liquid remaining in the pan.
  5. Scrape the batter into the pan and bake 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top is dry and crackled and a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and allow the brownies to cool to warm or room temperature.Carefully lift the brownies out of the pan, using the foil edges as handles, and transfer to a cutting board. With a long-bladed knife, cut the brownies into 16 squares, each roughly 2 inches on a side, taking care not to cut through the foil.

*Serving: The brownies are good just warm or at room temperature; they’re even fine cold. I like these with a little something on top or alongside—good go-alongs are whipped crème fraiche or whipped cream, ice cream or chocolate sauce or even all three!

*Storing: Wrapped well, these can be kept at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months.

Birthday Lemon Tart

Birthdays make this Little Baker very happy! (^_^)

Melita brought home lots and lots of lemons last week, so since her birthday was on Monday, I baked her a lemon tart.

The quirky part about this recipe is that, except for the seeds, it calls for 1 1/2 ENTIRE lemons, which makes for a uber-lemony, sweet and sour tart. I love Dorie. She’s so smart.

I know—another short and sweet post. I leave for Peru tomorrow morning and I still haven’t started packing!?!?!

Hope you enjoy the tart!

Birthday Lemon Tart (adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Tartest Lemon Tart recipe found in Baking from My Home to Yours)

Sweet Tart Dough with Nuts

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1/4 cup ground almonds (or pecans, walnuts or pistachios)

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 stick, plus 1 tbsp (9 tbsp) very cold or frozen unsalted butter, diced

1 large egg yolk, at room temperature


1 1/2 lemons, scrubbed and dried

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 large egg, at room temperature

2 large egg yolks, at room temperature

1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled



  1. Put the flour, ground almonds, confectioners’ sugar and salt in a food processor, pulsing a few times to combine.
  2. Scatter the butter pieces over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in—you should have some pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and some the size of peas.
  3. Stir the yolk, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulses—about 10 seconds each—until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds. Just before you reach this stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change—heads up. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and, very lightly and sparingly, knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.
  4. To press the dough into the pan: Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. (I used a 9-inch springform.)Press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan, using all but one little piece of dough, which you should save in the refrigerator to patch any cracks after the crust is baked. Don’t be too heavy-handed—press the crust in so that the edges of the pieces cling to one another, but not so hard that the crust loses its crumbly texture. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.
  5. To partially or fully bake the crust: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  6. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil (I didn’t butter the foil.) and fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly against the crust. (Since you froze the crust, you can bake it without weights.) Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon. For a partially baked crust, patch the crust if necessary, then transfer the crust to a cooling rack (keep it in its pan).
  7. To patch a partially or fully baked crust, if necessary: If there are any cracks in the baked crust, patch them with some of the reserved raw dough as soon as you remove the foil. Slice off a thin piece of the dough, place it over the crack, moisten the edges and very gently smooth the edges into the baked crust. If the tart will not be baked again with its filling, bake for another 2 minutes or so, just to take the rawness off the patch.


  1. Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Place tart pan on baking sheet lined with parchment or silicone mat.
  2. Slice whole lemon in half and pull out seeds from it and the half. Then cut lemons into small pieces.
  3. The filling is best made in a blender, but you can use a food processor. Put lemons and sugar in the blender or processor and pulse, blending and scraping down the sides until you have smooth mix. Add the remaining filling ingredients and pulse and blend until the filling is homogeneous. Rap bowl on counter several times to de-bubble the filling as much as possible, and pour it into your prepared, frozen partially baked crust.
  4. Very carefully–tart shell will be full–transfer baking sheet to the oven. Bake 20 minutes, then increase the oven temp to 350 degrees F and bake the tart for an additional 25 to 30 minutes. (The total time is 45 to 50 minutes). Don’t be alarmed when the filling starts to bubble up. (It might even bubble over the edge of tart–that’s okay.) When tart is properly baked, it should be set, although perhaps still shaky in center, and most of top will have formed a light sugary crust.
  5. Transfer the tart pan to a cooling rack and let cool to room temperature. Chill, if you’d like, before serving with cream or dusting of confectioners’ sugar.

Christmas Cranberry Cheesecake

Christmas Day.

Liam and I are in Portland again for the long weekend. Getting together with my family—no matter how long we’ve been apart—is a frenzy – of stories being told, voices wanting to be heard and a lot of very different personalities trying to get through. It can be a little overwhelming. Actually, I’ve been trying to finish this post all day, but I just can’t. There’s too much going on, too much distraction. But all the good kind.

My sister Christine and I made this cheesecake together. I’m not used to sharing my…space…with others. I’m learning, though.

I adapted Dorie Greenspan’s Tall and Creamy Cheesecake recipe for tonight’s Christmas dinner. I’m not going to say too much about it—the pictures speak for themselves. Super rich and creamy cheesecake base, lovely tartness from the cranberries and holiday spice from the gingersnap base. Sugar, spice and everything nice!!

Happy Holidays! Enjoy!

Christmas Cranberry Cheesecake with a Gingersnap Crust (adapted from this recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home to Yours and this recipe from The Delicious Life)

Makes one gigantic 9-inch cheesecake


Cranberry Sauce:

12 oz fresh cranberries

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup water

a pinch of salt

zest of 1/2 a medium orange

1 tsp cinnamon


1 3/4 cups graham cracker or gingersnap crumbs

3 tbsp sugar

a pinch of salt

1/2 stick (4 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted


2 lbs (four 8 oz boxes) cream cheese, at room temp.

1 1/3 cups sugar

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

4 large eggs, at room temp.

1 1/3 cups sour cream or heavy cream, or a combination of the two

1 tsp cinnamon


Prepare the Cranberry Sauce:

  1. Wash cranberries and remove any wayward stems and mushy, brown/bruised berries.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat water and sugar over low heat until sugar dissolves. Add cranberries, increase heat, and bring to a boil. Turn down heat to low and simmer cranberries until most of them have cracked or burst, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the cinnamon and stir.
  4. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Cranberry sauce “gels” more as it cools.

Prepare the crust:

  1. Butter a 9-inch springform pan—choose one that has sides that are 2 3/4 inches high (if the sides are lower, you will have cheesecake batter leftover)—and wrap the bottom of the pan in a double layer of aluminum foil; put the pan on a baking sheet.
  2. Stir the crumbs, sugar and salt together in a medium bowl. Pour over the melted butter and stir until all of the dry ingredients are uniformly moist. (I do this with my fingers.) Turn the ingredients into the buttered springform pan and use your fingers to pat an even layer of crumbs along the bottom of the pan and about halfway up the sides. Don’t worry if the sides are not perfectly even or if the crumbs reach above or below the midway mark on the sides—this doesn’t have to be a precision job. Put the pan in the freezer while you preheat the oven.
  3. Center a rack in the oven, preheat the oven to 350°F and place the springform on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Set the crust aside to cool on a rack while you make the cheesecake.
  4. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.

Make the cheesecake:

  1. Put a kettle of water on to boil.
  2. Working in a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese at medium speed until it is soft and lives up to the creamy part of its name, about 4 minutes. With the mixer running, add the sugar and salt and continue to beat another 4 minutes or so, until the cream cheese is light. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one by one, beating for a full minute after each addition—you want a well-aerated batter. Reduce the mixer speed to low and stir in the sour cream and/or heavy cream.
  3. Put the foil-wrapped springform pan in the roaster pan.
  4. Spoon half the cranberry sauce over the bottom of the crust, spreading out evenly.
  5. Give the batter a few stirs with a rubber spatula, just to make sure that nothing has been left unmixed at the bottom of the bowl, and scrape the batter into the springform pan. The batter will reach the brim of the pan. (If you have a pan with lower sides and have leftover batter, you can bake the batter in a buttered ramekin or small soufflé mold.) Put the roasting pan in the oven and pour enough boiling water into the roaster to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
  6. Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour and 30 minutes, at which point the top will be browned (and perhaps cracked) and may have risen just a little above the rim of the pan. Turn off the oven’s heat and prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon. Allow the cheesecake to luxuriate in its water bath for another hour.
  7. After 1 hour, carefully pull the setup out of the oven, lift the springform pan out of the roaster—be careful, there may be some hot water in the aluminum foil—remove the foil. Let the cheesecake come to room temperature on a cooling rack.
  8. When the cake is cool, cover the top lightly and chill the cake for at least 4 hours, although overnight would be better.

To Serve:

Remove the sides of the springform pan and set the cake, still on the pan’s base, on a serving platter. Spread the remaining half of the cranberry sauce over the cheesecake. (You can also serve the sauce on the side.)

Carrot Cake with Vegan Coconut Frosting


I’ve been baking for the office lately and every time I do, there always one guy who NEVER eats what I bring. Now I know why! I just found out he’s lactose intolerant (but is fine with eggs)! So now I’m determined to make a super delicious dessert, namely a moreish carrot cake with a non-dairy coconut cream frosting (from Elana’s Pantry). Yum! For the recipe, I decided to go with one I know will withstand all tests – Dorie Greenspan’s recipe for carrot cake.

About the frosting–honestly, this cake doesn’t need it. It’s luscious and decadent without it. Next time, I’ll just make the cake.

Bill’s Big Carrot Cake with Vegan Coconut Cream Frosting (adapted from a Dorie Greenspan recipe and Elana’s Pantry recipe)



2 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp cinnamon

3/4 tsp salt

3 cups grated carrots

1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans

1 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened

1/2 cup moist, plump raisins or cranberries

1 handful dates, finely chopped

2 cups sugar

1 cup canola oil

4 large eggs

Coconut Cream Frosting

1 cup coconut milk

1 cup honey (or agave nectar)

a pinch of salt

5 tsp cornstarch

1 tbsp water

1 1/4 cups coconut oil


  1. Getting ready: Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter three 9 x 2 inch round cake pans, flour the insides, and tap out the excess. Put the two pans on one baking sheet and one on another.
  2. To make the cake: Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, stir together the carrots, chopped nuts, coconut, and raisins.
  3. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the sugar and oil together on a medium speed until smooth. Add the eggs one by one and continue to beat until the batter is even smoother. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture, mixing only until the dry ingredients disappear.
  4. Gently mix the chunky ingredients. Divide the batter among the baking pans.
  5. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point, until a thin knife inserted into the centers comes out clean. The cakes will have just started to come away from the sides of the pans. Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes and unmold them. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up. The cakes can be wrapped airtight and kept at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to 2 months.
  6. To make the frosting: In a medium saucepan, heat coconut milk, agave and salt, simmer for 10 minutes.
  7. In a small bowl, combine arrowroot and water to form a smooth paste. Pour arrowroot mixture into saucepan.
  8. Mix contents of saucepan with a hand blender and bring to a boil, briefly. Remove pot from heat and very gradually blend in coconut oil. Place pot in freezer for 20 to 30 or 30 to 40 minutes, until frosting solidifies and turns white.
  9. Remove from freezer and blend again, until fluffy.
  10. To assemble the cake: Put one layer top side up on a cardboard cake round or a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper. If you added the coconut to the frosting, use half of the coconut frosting to generously cover the first layer (or generously cover with plain frosting). Use an offset spatula or a spoon to smooth the frosting all the way to the edges of the layer. Top with the second layer, this time placing the cake stop side down, and frost with the remainder of the coconut frosting or plain frosting. Top with the last layer, right side up, and frost the top and the sides of the cake. Finish the top with swirls of frosting. If you want to top the cake with toasted nuts or coconut, sprinkle them on now while the frosting is soft. Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes, just to set the frosting before serving.
  11. Serving: This cake can be served as soon as the frosting is set. It can also wait, at room temperature and covered with a cake keeper overnight. The cake is best served in thick slices at room temperature and while its good plain, its even better with vanilla ice cream or some lemon curd.
  12. Storing: The cake will keep at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. It can also be frozen. Freeze it uncovered, then when its firm, wrap airtight and freeze for up to 2 months. Defrost, still wrapped, overnight in the refrigerator.