Preheat your oven to 350F - 175C - and line your round cake pans with baking paper. I used 2 small pans of 18cm diameter then cut the cake in half to make 4 layers, but you can use bigger pans, keeping in mind that a bigger pan won't yield 4 layers, but 2 or 3.
Sift the flour with baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a bowl.
Combine the oil, sugars, eggs, vanilla and orange zest in a bowl and mix until double in volume and light in color.
Gently stir in the flour, either with your mixer on low speed or with a spatula.
Fold in the crushed pineapple, carrots, coconut and walnuts.
Pour the batter into your prepared pans and bake for 30-40 minutes or until it passes the toothpick test.
When done, remove the pans from the oven and let the cakes cool completely.
Level up the cakes if needed and cut them in half lengthwise. (Remember that if you used a bigger pan, cutting in half may not be possible anymore)
Cream Cheese Swiss Meringue Buttercream:
Combine the egg whites, sugar and salt in a heatproof bowl.
Place the bowl over a hot water bath (make sure the water doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl) and heat the mixture up until the sugar is melted, mixing all the time.
Once the sugar is melted and the mixture is frothy and hot, remove from heat and using an electric mixer, mix the whites for 8-10 minutes or until the bowl cools down completely and the whites turn into a stiff and glossy meringue.
Add the butter, all at once, and mix on medium speed for 5-7 minutes. Once you add the butter, the mixture will become soupy, but keep mixing. A few minutes later, it will curdle up, but keep mixing. 2 more minutes and it will become creamy and so so delicious!
Spoon the cream cheese in a different bowl and stir in the vanilla and orange zest. Mix it well with an electric mixer until creamy and smooth.
Add the buttercream you made earlier, spoon by spoon and mix until well incorporated.
It's done when you've incorporated all the buttercream.
At this point, if you want it sweeter, you can add some powdered sugar. If not, use it to fill your cakes.
Reserve about ⅓ of the buttercream to frost the cake.
Once covered in buttercream, cover the sides of the cake with toasted shredded coconut or coconut flakes.
Candied Carrot Curls:
Wash your carrots well then using a vegetable peeler, peel thin ribbons of carrot.
Mix the water with sugar in a small saucepan and place over medium flame.
Bring to a boil then add the carrot ribbons.
Cook for 10-15 minutes until the syrup becomes thick and the carrot ribbons become slightly translucent.
Remove from heat and let the carrot peels cool in the syrup.
Drain the carrot ribbons and spread them in a baking pan lined with parchment paper.
Cook in the preheated oven at 350F - 175C - for 10-15 minutes just until they begin to become slightly golden brown. What happens is that the sugar begins to caramelize. Watch them closely as they burn easily.
Remove from the oven and while still warm (not hot as caramelized sugar burns easily) wrap them around the handle of a wooden spoon (or around some Chinese chosticks in my case) and let them cool completely. If the ribbons in the pan begin to harden and are difficult to curl, place the pan back in the oven for 3-4 minutes.
Decorate the cake with carrot curls and serve it chilled.
Recipe by Pastry Workshop at http://pastry-workshop.com/carrot-cake-tort-cu-morcovi/