This started out as Mrs. Manning's recipe for Carrot Cake. Hers always comes out so beautifully moist and carrot-y, so I used her base and added some extra spices, raisins, and walnuts. The result is a rich, spicy cake that really doesn't need frosting. But I'll tack on a cream cheese frosting recipe anyway, since it's so good.
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
3 cups grated carrots
1 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 1/4 cup golden raisins
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, beat eggs and add the oil and vanilla. Pour wet ingredients into the larger bowl with the flour and spices, mix well. Add walnuts, raisins, and carrots, continue to mix.
Grease and flour three 9" round cake pans (or one 13x9" pan), and pour the batter into the pans. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pans for about ten minutes, then remove to cool on a rack. Frost with cream cheese icing when completely cool.
Cream Cheese Icing
1 16-oz box powdered sugar
8-oz cream cheese
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon rum
1 tablespoon brandy
Combine all but nuts and liquor in a food processor and blend until no lumps are showing. Add liquor and stir gently. Frost cake, and, as an added touch, press the chopped nuts around the outside of the cake.
 That's my older sister's mother-in-law, for you playing the home game. Mrs. Manning cooks like a dream and puts down a serious spread for major holidays.
 But who doesn't like frosting? Really, I was thinking of making cupcakes with this recipe and having them for breakfast.
 I ground whole cloves in a coffee grinder, since buying cloves pre-ground is expensive.
 I used about five fairly large carrots to get three cups' worth. I used both the coarse grater and the fine grater for differences in texture.
 Okay, you could use dark raisins.
 It seems like a lot of oil, and the end result was a cake that was pretty oil-y to the touch, so I may be reducing the amount of oil used. Perhaps substituting some applesauce for the oil.
 Or a fork. If you don't have toothpicks handy.
 Not granulated sugar. It just doesn't work.
 Optional, but lends a nice flavor.
 Also optional, but she's a fine girl.
 That's also optional, but icing a three-layer cake is not really part of my skill set, if you know what I mean. The sides of my cake came out so ugly, I did this just to make the cake visually appealing. I did not go so far as to make little orange frosting carrots, though. I draw the line.