Note: I always toast my pecans first, toasting them adds a whole new layer of flavor – trust me! That way they have time to cool before adding them to the batter. I toast them whole, then roughly chop the ones I put in the cake by hand, so they have some heft. I put the second cup of toasted pecans in the food processor and finely chop them and set them aside. Then, I put my pineapple in a strainer and let it drain. Then I peel and process my carrots, then set them aside. (This cake is some work, but the accolades are worth it.)
Flour and grease two 9″ cake pans and set them aside. Combine all dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in one medium bowl. Combine oil, sugar, eggs and drained pineapple in second large bowl. Add dry ingredients to the oil, sugar, egg, pineapple mixture. Blend in carrots and pecans.
Pour cake batter into the two 9" cake pans. (Or a bundt cake pan- if you want.) Bake at 350 for 40 min to an hour. (Test with a toothpick starting at 40 min.) Remove cakes from their pans immediately by running a knife along the edges and flipping them over onto a plate. Then flip them again, so they're right side up.
If you make cupcakes, they only take 20 minutes, but test them with a toothpick first. If it comes out dry, your cupcakes are ready. Once the cake is cool, place one cake on a plate, cut off the rounded top so the next layer sits better. Then ice the top with plenty of cream cheese frosting. Next, place the other cake on top, ice it all over with and press the chopped toasted pecans all around the sides. You might need more than 1 cup. If making cupcakes, just roll the iced cupcake in the toasted pecans. Serve immediately.
Bring cream cheese and butter to room temperature. Mix well in an electric mixer until fluffy. Add confectioners sugar, vanilla, and half and half. Add salt to taste. (Icing always needs a little salt.) When thoroughly combined, apply icing to cooled cake.