This Amazing Carrot Cake is perfect for Easter or year round!! Made incredibly delicious and moist with fresh carrots, pineapple, a blend of warm spices and a homemade brown butter cream cheese frosting, this Carrot Cake Recipe is truly the BEST dessert EVER!
HOORAY! THIS CAKE IS THE WINNER OF THE KITCHEN CARROT CAKE SMACKDOWN! FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE WIN HERE!
If you love carrot cake, you will love this Carrot Cake Cupcake Recipe, Easy Carrot Pound Cake or Orange Carrot Cupcakes!
THE BEST CARROT CAKE RECIPE ONLINE!
Y’all, I spent this past week working in LA and let me tell you, I missed the sunshine. The days were warm but never uncomfortably so and the cool breeze was EVERYTHING. I enjoyed stepping out in a t-shirt because it meant shedding the winter coat I’ve been lugging for months.
Though I was sad to tuck away my sunglasses and yank on my boots, I came home excited for the coming Spring. I’ve spent the past few days dreaming of budding trees, tulip bulbs and surprisingly, carrot cake. To me, Carrot Cake is synonymous with Spring; the gorgeous, vibrant carrots represent all that’s beautiful about the new season.
So, I decided to share with you all the BEST Carrot Cake recipe EVER in the hopes that the seasons will get the hint. Let’s welcome in warmer weather with a moist, spiced and oh so decadently creamy Carrot Cake!
THE HISTORY OF THIS CAKE
Time for a little history lesson y’all! Did you know that carrots have been used as sweeteners in cakes since the medieval period? Recipes for the illustrious carrot cake can be found in recipe books from as early as 1827. The spiced, nutty cake continued to gain popularity throughout WWII; ads were run by the British government that claimed carrots could help you see at night.
These ridiculous ads were run in the hopes that the Royal Airforce would be able to better read a newly developed special radar system.
Carrot Cake made its debut in America during the 1960’s and has since become a household favorite. It seems as if no one can deny a moist cake filled with delicious, vibrant orange carrots. Don’t even get me started on the sweet cream cheese frosting!
HOW TO MAKE CARROT CAKE RECIPE
Having a better understanding of your ingredients and their purpose in a recipe creates a better outcome. Take a moment to learn about these ingredients, you’ll thank me later.
Carrot Cake can be on the heavier side because of its mix-in: nuts, fruit and carrots. To avoid a dense outcome, I use a self-rising flour which contains baking powder. The additional leavener helps to prevent the development of too much gluten; this means a tender, moist cake. Thank you to Mama Dip for this amazing tip!
Cinnamon, Cloves, Nutmeg and Allspice
This is traditionally a spice-heavy cake; the spice blend layers warmth, a sweetly pungent aroma and peppery overtones.
The purpose of fat in any baking recipe is to add and retain moisture. Oil does the job by coating the protein in flour to prevent it from mixing with the other ingredients; if the protein is compromised, the necessary gluten does not form.
I prefer to freshly grate my own carrots because there’s a cleaner, more prominent flavor. Carrots should be sweet, earthy and slightly fruity.
Does this need an explanation? Every Carrot Cake worth talking about is served up with a tangy, smooth cream cheese frosting.
OPTIONAL: Roasted Walnuts & Crushed Pineapple
I would highly encourage the addition of these two ingredients. Roasted walnuts add a smoky, nutty flavor while also layering in a crunchy textural component. Pineapple simply offers a little extra fruity sweetness to compliment the carrots.
TRIMMING & FROSTING
I often find that assembling and icing a cake is the most difficult part of the whole process. The texture of a cake is finicky, frosting can be runny and patience is always required. But, don’t fret just yet! I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve to make this much easier for you folks at home.
Chill the Cake
Consider baking the cake layers the day before frosting and allowing them time to properly chill. Cold makes for fewer crumbs and therefore, a smoother layer of frosting.
Once baked and out of the pan, leave the cake out to come to room temperature. Then, wrap the layers in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least a couple hours.
Use a Knife to Level the Top
If your cake has come out of the oven with a domed top I would suggest giving it a trim. Flat cakes make for easier stacking and a more visually appealing result.
Use a long serrated knife to carefully slice the rounded tops off each layer.
After having chilled your layers, apply a thin, even layer of frosting to the top and side of the cake. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes then, proceed with the final beautifully smooth layer of frosting.
BONUS TIP: This cake is visually quite simple. Jazz it up by decorating with chopped nuts, grated carrots, chocolate chunks or crushed pineapple. Get creative and your cake is sure to be a showstopper!
HOW LONG WILL THIS CAKE KEEP?
Keep your freshly baked Carrot Cake in a dry, cool area and cover with foil or plastic wrap to keep from drying out. At room temperature, the cake will last for 1-2 days.
If refrigerating, Carrot Cake will last for up to a week (properly stored of course). You can even freeze your cake; wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and place it in a heavy-duty freezer bag. The freezer will maintain the quality of the cake for 4-6 months.
SPRING CARROT RECIPES
Let’s keep the Spring celebration going! Here are a few of Grandbaby Cakes’ BEST carrot-filled recipes:
ORANGE CARROT CUPCAKES
EASY CARROT CAKE
MANGO CARROT CAKE SWIRL BARS
Carrot Cake Recipe
For the Cake
- 2 1/2 cups self rising flour self rising flour usually has salt in it which is why it was omitted here but if you want a bit more you can add 1/4 tsp of salt as well
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract or vanilla paste
- 4 large eggs
- 3 cups grated carrots
- 1/2 cup crushed pineapple you can omit this if you want but I think it is essential/ I ONLY DRAIN PARTIALLY
- 1 cup chopped roasted walnuts optional
For the Frosting
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 16 oz cream cheese somewhat softened but still a little stiff/ 16 oz is 2 (8 oz) packages
- 3 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar if you want the frosting more stiff, add another 1/2 cup going up to 4 cups total
- pinch of salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the Cake
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Sift together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and baking soda and set aside.
- Next line the bottoms of 3 9” inch round cake pans with parchment paper and lightly grease.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat sugar, oil and vanilla together at medium speed. Next add eggs, one at a time, blending after each incorporation.
- Next slow down the mixer to lowest speed and add flour mixture in increments.
- Fold in carrots, crushed pineapple if desired and walnuts if desired.
- Evenly pour batter into cake pans.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool cake layers in pans for 10 minutes then flip cakes onto cooling racks to cool completely.
For the Frosting
- In a small saucepan, add butter and melt over medium heat. Once the butter has fully melted, a white foam will begin to appear over the top of the butter.
- Watch carefully as the butter’s color changes to brown and the smell of the butter becomes somewhat nutty.
- As soon as the butter is an amber brown color, remove from heat and cool in the refrigerator until it the butter has become solid again (can take about an hour or so).
- Add cooled brown butter and cream cheese to the bowl of your mixer and beat on high speed until it begins to thicken and fluff.
- Next slow down mixer and carefully add in confectioner’s sugar. Once all sugar has incorporated, turn mixer back to high to continue whipping.
- Add salt and vanilla extract and continue whipping until it is smooth.
- Spread frosting between layers and around cake and serve.
This is indeed the best carrot cake. I use all the ingredients. I make the cake the day before and the frosting the next day. if you can get a hold of Nantes carrots – they are the best! I also use the liquid vanilla in the cake and vanilla paste in the frosting. Such a moist, flavorful, fantastic cake – even out of the freezer months later! It takes me two hours to get the cake in the oven, something to take note of. A must try.
A J Walker says
Didn’t work for me. Very Dry and crumbly. Two stars because the icing is yummy. Reviewed ingredients and instructions….all followed. Bake as directed. No next time.
I made the carrot cake for my granddaughter’s birthday. It was a real treat for all in attendance (11). Not only was it beautiful but the flavor was outstanding, the brown butter in the icing elevated it also. I see why it is a winner!
Do you think it would work to cut this recipe in half and bake in 2 8 inch cake pans? I would of course adjust baking time.
Jocelyn (Grandbaby Cakes) says
You can use two 8 inch pans, but keep in mind that the baking time may need to be adjusted, as smaller pans may take longer to bake. It is always a good idea to check the cake for doneness with a toothpick or cake tester, and make necessary adjustments to the baking time as needed.
This is my go to recipe for carrot cake. I omit the brown butter and just make regular cream cheese frosting. Everyone raves about the cake and how moist and delicious it is.
This was wonderful! I made it gluten free with King Arthur’s 1:1 Flour and poured it into a 9×13 pan for 50-55min. It baked up AMAZING!!!
I have made this for my sister twice now–once for her birthday and once for her engagement–and now she wants me to make it for her wedding!!! Can you tell me how much to multiply the recipe if I want a 12-inch cake? Or possibly a 14-inch cake??
Daniel Kerszencwejg says
The flavor is great. Brown butter frosting great touch. I wanted to give 4.5 stars but mainly because the recipe needs to have a little more info. I think you really need to be absolutely sure your cake thirds are fully cooled (possibly refrigerated) before frosting. Also, I followed the frosting recipe to the letter and it seemed kinda runny. Again, maybe recipe should say to refrigerate a little to firm up prior to frosting. Alternatively it could say to refrigerate immediately after frosting to form up the frosting. Either way, it tasted great just some fine tuning on the instructions would be great. I’ve had many different carrot cakes and this frosting tasted great but most of the ones I have had the frosting is much thicker and firmer….
Did you read all her tips on this cake? She talked about most everything you complained about with hints.
can you use salted butter in frosting as that is all I have will it change the flavor?
Jocelyn (Grandbaby Cakes) says
It will be just fine for sure. Just make sure to omit the salt.