Carrot cake has long been my favorite cake and this is the only recipe I ever use!
CARROT CAKE PERFECT FOR ANY CELEBRATION
This recipe will forever change your opinion on what carrot cake is supposed to be. All the best things in one utterly divine slice of cake:
I’m always looking for an excuse to make this cake and will continue to do so. When I’m throwing out options for someone on their birthday, this always has a way of being the top idea on the list.
- Tender softness. A melt-in-your-mouth texture.
- Moist crumb. No dryness in the slightest here.
- Plenty of finely shredded carrots (they add light flavor, a nice moisture and give it such a pretty natural color too).
- Perfect level of sweetness.
- Great blend of spices and vanilla for a boost of flavor.
- Fluffy yet stable
- Finished with a decadent frosting. Cream cheese frosting is the only way to go he
It’s also the best cake to serve for a spring celebration or Easter. This year, I’ll be making half the recipe and doing one layer (which can be done in a 9-inch round or 8 by 8 pan) for our small family of four. If you’ll be celebrating the holiday eating on your own or just two of you, you could always make cupcakes and freeze some for later.
CARROT CAKE INGREDIENTS
For the cake portion you’ll need:
- Eggs: This cake has quite a few eggs, they really help bind and build up the structure of the cake.
- Vegetable Oil: Canola oil will work great too.
- Unsweetened Applesauce: Another 1/2 cup of vegetable oil can be substituted if needed.
- Granulated Sugar and Brown Sugar: Stick with the blend of both. If you don’t have brown sugar you can mix 2 tsp molasses to 1 3/4 cups total white sugar.
- Vanilla Extract: This just adds a light background flavor. Vanilla bean paste works well too.
- All-purpose Flour: Bleached or unbleached flour may be used.
- Baking powder and baking soda: Stick with the blend for a good rise.
- Salt: Standard table salt or sea salt work great here.
- Cinnamon, Nutmeg & Ginger: I’ve found this is my favorite blend of spices to use here. If you love that spice flavor you can double the nutmeg and ginger.
- Carrots: I shred these by hand but you could also do it in a food processor fitted with a shredder attachment.
- Pecans (optional): These are optional based on personal preference but I always think of them as a must. I don’t like them in the cake taking away from that soft texture but I love adding them to outside of the cake (usually coating the whole circumference around the cake).
Scroll down for ingredient amounts and directions.
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING INGREDIENTS:
For the frosting you’ll also need:
- Unsalted Butter
- Cream Cheese
- Powdered Sugar
HOW TO MAKE CARROT CAKE FROM SCRATCH:
Here’s a quick overview of the steps:
- Preheat oven, prepare two 9-inch cake pans.
- Whisk dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
- In a separate bowl, using an electric mixer blend sugars and wet ingredients.
- Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix just to combined.
- Add carrots and mix briskly just to distribute through batter.
- Pour batter among two prepared pans and bake until cooked through.
- Cool completely then frost.
HOW TO STORE
Carrot cake should be stored in the fridge. I like to store in in a cake carrier o it won’t dry out. Then, let it rest at room temperature for a while before you serve it – unless of course you prefer it cold. (It’s tasty that way, too.)
HOW LONG DOES CARROT CAKE LAST?
Frosted carrot cake should keep about 5 days in the refrigerator (unfrosted layers can be kept at room temperature for 2 days).
CAN IT BE FROZEN?
Yes. Carrot cake can be frozen as unfrosted layers, wrapped separately in foil or plastic wrap and stored in an airtight container. Individual slices that are frosted can be frozen as well.
IS CARROT CAKE HEALTHY?
No necessarily! You could find healthier versions of carrot cake online but this recipe is not healthy. All things in moderation, right?
TIPS FOR THE BEST CARROT CAKE
- Finely shred carrots. This offers a perfectly uniform texture, cleaner slices and no large visible chunks of carrots.
- Use freshest carrots if possible for best flavor.
- Precisely measure ingredients (no guessing here and don’t adjust amounts listed). If you have a kitchen scale use that for the most accuracy.
- Don’t over-mix the batter after adding in flour and after adding in carrots. Otherwise cake can be spongy and may not rise as high.
- Properly prepare cake pans. Don’t forget to grease pan, line with parchment (or foil) and dust with flour. No risk of cake sticking and falling apart.
- Use cake strips to wrap around cake pans if you have them for more even layers and a higher rise. Be sure to soak in water a while before using.
- Bake just until cooked through. Under-cooked and cake will collapse, over-cooked and cake will be dry.
To the batter, try adding:
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
- 1 cup drained crushed pineapple (reduce carrots to 2 1/2 cups)
- Replace half the carrots with shredded zucchini
- Use all brown sugar for a more caramel-like flavor
- Add other spices like a little allspice, cloves or anise