If you’re looking for a decadent, ultra moist cake, look no further than this carrot cake. Some people shy away from carrot cake because of its name (and it almost seems wrong to associate the dessert with any kind of vegetable), but in this case, the only thing the carrots do is lend even more sweetness to this heavenly cake.
Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Carrot cake was one of the first, from-scratch cakes I ever made, beating out chocolate and vanilla. But because this cake turned out so good, I decided to ditch the boxed cake mixes and learn how to make every cake from scratch.
I make my simple carrot cake into three layers, then frost the tops and sides of each with a luscious cream cheese frosting. The sweet, cinnamon-flavored cake batter pairs nicely with the creamy and slightly tangy cream cheese frosting.
You can’t even tell there are carrots in this easy carrot cake, and yet this cake would be nothing without them. This cake is so light and airy that I honestly say a prayer every time I transfer the cake layers from the cooling rack to the cake stand; it’s that delicate.
I also haven’t met a person who didn’t love this cake or ask me for this delicious carrot cake recipe; it’s honestly the best!
To frost this cake, you can simply frost the top of each layer with an offset spatula, giving it a more rustic look. Or, you can do what I did, which is to frost each cake layer then do an overall crumb coat of the entire cake (basically an imperfect way of smearing a thin layer of frosting). Once you’ve done the crumb coat, you can use a piping bag + tip to implement a basket weave design (see the Wilton video tutorial here) on the sides of the cake.
I sprinkled the sides with finely chopped pecans, then sprinkled the top of the cake with finely shredded coconut. The finishing touch were a few baby carrots piled on top.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 3 medium carrots, shredded or pulsed in a food processor to small bits
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup buttermilk, or 1 cup milk + 1 tbsp lemon juice/vinegar
For The Frosting
- 16 oz cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup powdered sugar, or more to taste
- 2 tsp vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 3 nine-inch cake pans very well with baking spray. Set aside.
- In your mixer's bowl (or just a large bowl), mix sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla together.
- Add the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Mix until combined and smooth.
- In a food processor, pulse your carrots until they're turned into small bits, or use a grater to shred your carrots. Add these carrot bits to your batter, along with the buttermilk (or the milk+acid mixture). Mix until everything is fully incorporated into the batter.
- Divide batter evenly among the three cake pans (using a scale if you have one, or else just eye it). Bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of each pan comes out clean. Use a sharp knife to run along the edges of each cake before flipping the cakes out onto a wire cooling rack. Allow them to rest until completely cool.
- In your mixer's bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add in powdered sugar and vanilla and mix until blended in. Add milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, to loosen up frosting until it's obtained a spreadable consistency.
- Begin carefully stacking your cake layers, frosting the top of each one before adding a new layer. At the end, frost the sides of the cake and add any kind of design you desire.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 12 Servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 761