This recipe for The Best Carrot Cake is wonderfully moist, tender and easy to make. It’s covered in a homemade cream cheese frosting for the perfect, classic cake.
- 2 1/3 lbs (904g) raw carrots
- 2 1/2 cups (325g) all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp cloves
- 1/2 cup (112g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil
- 1 cup (225g) packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (104g) granulated white sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- 1 large egg white
- 12 oz (341g) crushed pineapple, drained, optional
- 1 1/4 cup (91g) sweetened coconut flakes, optional
- 3/4 cup (80g) chopped toasted pecans or walnuts, optional
- 1/2 cup (75g) raisins, optional
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 16 oz (452g) cream cheese, room temperature
- 3/4 cup (172g) butter, room temperature
- 10 cups (1150g) powdered sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups (165g) chopped pecans
- Peel the carrots, then grate them just until you have 3 1/2 cups (350g) of grated carrots. Cover the grated carrot and set in the fridge.
- Chop the remaining raw carrots into pieces small enough to go into a food processor or blender. Put chopped carrots in a steamer basket (or a colander, if you don’t have a steamer basket) set over a pot of boiling water. Cover and steam the carrots until very tender, about 10-15 minutes.
- Put the warm carrots into a food processor or blender and puree (do not add the water used to steam the carrots, JUST the carrots). The puree will be thick. You should end up with about 1 3/4 cups (420ml) of carrot puree. Set aside to cool while you make the cake batter.
- Prepare three 8 inch cake pans with parchment paper circles in the bottom and grease the sides. Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C).
- Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices in a medium sized bowl and set aside.
- Add the butter, oil, sugars and vanilla extract to and large mixer bowl and beat together until light in color and fluffy, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Do not skimp on the creaming time, but do not over mix either.
- Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until mostly combined after each, then add the egg white. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to be sure all ingredients are well incorporated.
- Add half of the dry ingredients to the batter and mix until mostly combined.
- Add the carrot puree (it can be warm or cold) and mix until well combined.
- Add the remaining dry ingredients and mix until combined. Do not over mix the batter.
- Stir in the grated carrots, pineapple, coconut, pecans and raisins (if using them all). Do not over mix.
- Divide the batter evenly between the cakes pans and bake for 29-32 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes, then remove to cooling racks to cool completely.
- To make the frosting, add the cream cheese and butter to a large mixer bowl and beat until well combined and smooth.
- Add about half of the powdered sugar and mix until well combined and smooth.
- Add the vanilla extract and mix until well combined.
- Add the remaining powdered sugar and mix until well combined and smooth. Add more or less powdered sugar, as desired for consistency purposes.
- To put the cake together, use a large serrated knife to remove the domes from the top of the cakes so that they’re flat, if needed. These cakes don’t have a large dome, but I like to make sure they’re completely flat.
- Place the first cake on a serving plate or a cardboard cake round.
- Spread about 1 cup of frosting evenly on top of the cake.
- Add the second layer of cake and another cup of frosting.
- Top the cake with the remaining layer and frost the outside of the cake. Refer to my tutorial for frosting a smooth cake, if needed.
- Use a 9 inch offset spatula to create the spiral pattern on top of the cake. Place the tip of spatula in the center of the cake and slowly turn the cake in circles, dragging the spatula through the frosting and moving outwards with each completed turn until you reach the outer edge of the cake.
- Press the pecans into the sides of the cake.
- Use the remaining frosting to pipe shells around the outer edge of the cake. I used Ateco tip 847.
- Refrigerate cake until ready to serve. Set cake out for about 2 hours before serving. Store cake in an air tight container. Cake is best if eaten within 3-4 days.
If you’d prefer to leave out the carrot puree and just use grated carrots, replace the carrot puree with 1 1/4 cups of milk. You’ll need to increase the baking time by about 3-5 minutes.
To bake in two 9 inch cake layers, bake for 38-42 minutes.
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