Grandmas Easy Carrot Cake Recipe
The classic combination of a sweet carrot cake with the tanginess of a cream cheese frosting is a tried and true recipe our family has been indulging in for years.
While the cream cheese frosting is delicious, our kids actually prefer it without. If were really feeling fancy, we simply sprinkle some icing sugar on top.
The kids love this baked treat for an afternoon snack. And we love to indulge in a piece with a fresh cup of coffee or delicious afternoon tea.
Carrot Cake Recipe Variations
For additional flavor options, consider adding raisins, shredded coconut or chopped walnuts to the carrot cake batter before baking.
When preparing the frosting, ensure that the cream cheese as well as the butter are soft. Remove from the fridge prior to preparing to allow the ingredients enough time to soften at room temperature.
Before adding the creamy frosting, be sure to wait until the carrot cake cools completely. Afterwards, place the frosted carrot cake in the fridge and store it there until youre ready to serve.
The Best Ever Carrot Cake
- 2cupsall purpose flour
- 1 1/2teaspoonsBaking Soda
- 2teaspoonsbaking powder
- 1 1/2cupsCooking Oilvegetable oil or canola oil
- 2cupscarrotsgrated, fresh
- 1cancrushed pineapplesmall can, add juice
- 28 ouncecream cheese, softened
- 2sticksbutterroom temperature
- 1 1/2boxesconfectioners sugarsifted
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Grease and flour 3 8″ round cake pans. I like to line my pans with parchment paper.
- Sift all dry ingredients. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together oil, sugar, eggs-beaten after each addition until smooth and combined.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture a little at a time, beating on medium speed, until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure everything is combined well.
- Add carrots, pineapple, and nuts. Beat on medium until just combined. You can also fold this in by hand if you like. Mix well.
- Pour the batter evenly into the prepared cake pans and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Start checking after 30 minutes.
- Remove the pans from the oven and cool on a wire rack until they have cooled completely. Level the tops of the cakes if you like. Frost.
Tips And Variations For The Best Carrot Cake
Toasting pecans if desired can add extra flavor to the frosting.Grate your carrots. Do not buy pre-grated carrots. Taking the time to grate fresh carrots will make a huge difference in the taste.Use parchment paper to line your cake pans. This will ensure your cakes will release from the pans after being baked.Remove air bubbles from the cake by dropping the filled cake pans on the counter several times before baking.
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The Most Unique: Cooks Illustrated Carrot Layer Cake
- Overall rating: 9/10
- Get the recipe: Cooks Illustrateds Carrot Layer Cake
- Read more:I Tried Cooks Illustrated Rule-Breaking Carrot Cake
This cake is a four-layered rectangular cake that gets coated in chopped nuts. Although it was a bit of a project to make, it was totally worth the effort. The cake was light and fluffy and perfectly moist. It gets a generous amount of dried currants added to the batter, lending it a nice tart flavor and chewy texture. Because the cake is baked in a sheet pan, it cooks quickly, and cutting it into four equal pieces is surprisingly easy. The frosting was also delicious and tasted like a classic, straightforward cream cheese frosting.
The presentation of the cake was super unique and unlike any of the other recipes I tested. It made the cake feel a bit more fancy as if it came straight from a bakery. The only thing I didnt like about the recipe was the amount of pecans it used. In order to cover the sides of the cake you need to use a lot of chopped pecans. While I generally like nuts in my carrot cake, I found that there was just too many.
How To Make The Cream Cheese Frosting
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What You Need To Make Carrot Cake
Its simple to make this amazing cake, and it doesnt take any special tools you can even mix the batter by hand if youd like, even though I use a mixer in my how-to video .
What youll need is probably what you already have:
- Bowls and whisks for mixing
- All your ingredients, including finely shredded carrots and raisins for the cake, and cream cheese and butter for the frosting
How To Make Cream Cheese Frosting
When it comes to carrot cake, the best way to top it is with tangy, sweet, and THICK cream cheese frosting! Get the full recipe, including measurements, for my Best-Ever Cream Cheese Frosting.
To make it, youll be surprised at how easy it is:
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How To Make Carrot Cake
If youre ready to make this Best-Ever dessert, it wont get much simpler than these steps:
Can I Freeze Extras
Carrot cake is surprisingly easy to freeze after baking, and even after frosting! For best results, let the cake chill in the refrigerator for a few hours to allow the icing to firm up. Afterwards, wrap the whole cake well in a double layer of plastic wrap, plus a layer of aluminum foil to help with freezer burn. Store the whole cake in an airtight, freezer-safe container to freeze for up to 2-3 months.
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What Does This Carrot Cake Taste Like
This carrot cake sets the standard for carrot cakes everywhere. Its deeply moist and filled with toasted pecans. Most of its flavor comes from brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and carrots. Ginger adds the most delicious zing, but it isnt overpowering at all. The cake is dense, but each forkful tastes super soft and extra lush. If made ahead, the flavor intensifies and the cream cheese frosting seeps into the layers, creating an even more tender bite.
So if youre looking for a make-ahead cake whose taste and texture wont be compromised, make this! Its a total classic and 1 taste converts everyone, even those silly people who dont like carrot cake. Who ARE you people?!
The Best Carrot Cake Recipeever
I have been making and loving this homemade carrot cake recipe for more than 10 years! I have always wanted to get it up here to share but nothing pains me more than not having photos to do the recipe justice! These photos still arent my favorite but it was time to pull the trigger and post this incredible recipe. Whenever I make this carrot cake for friends or family they immediately ask for the recipe because its just THAT amazing. The closest thing Ive ever tasted to a carrot cake this good is from The Cheesecake Factory. But Ill be honest, I like mine more. I am a huge carrot cake fan so I try slices at every bakery and restaurant I can find. But each time, I keep coming back to this recipe.
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Change It Up With These Substitutions:
This homemade carrot cake already has the perfect touch to it! I recommend using the original recipe but with these substitutions you can make this cake your own.
- Nuts: Any type of nut is delicious in this homemade cake recipe. Substitute it, leave it out or add it along with the pecans.
- Raisins: Always a fun soft treat to taste when eating.
- Coconut: Shredded coconut is alway popular
- Applesauce: Try crushed pineapple for a more tart flavor. Drain the canned pineapple before adding into the batter. Mashed bananas, sour cream or yogurt will also work as a substitute.
- Frosting: Spice up your frosting with a pinch of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg blend. Mix it directly in the frosting or sprinkle on top.
The Only Carrot Cake Recipe You Will Ever Need
What makes a great carrot cake for me? I want it dense and packed with flavor and texture. There are lots of recipes out there that make a light and fluffy carrot cake. That is not this cake. This cake is hearty in the best way possible. It has walnuts , pineapple and grated carrots. Some recipes call for cooking and pureeing the carrots but who has time for that?! Not me. Theres a reason everyone who tastes this recipe falls in love with it. So trust me when I say you need to try it! Now, if you arent a fan of walnuts you could use pecans or raisins OR use nothing at all! I totally understand nut allergies or when youre baking for a crowd you want to play it safe.
Have you seen all the recipes that call for coconut? Whaaaat? Why? To me, that would turn it into more of a morning glory cake.
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What Makes This The Best Carrot Cake Recipe
To turn this airy, moist, classic carrot cake into the Best Ever Carrot cake, it has to have the Best Ever Cream Cheese Frosting. By simply adding vanilla yogurt and pineapple preserves to our luscious Cream Cheese Frosting, weve done just that. The vanilla yogurt adds a depth of silkiness and flavor while the pineapple preserves add a light, bright, pineapple tang all sweetened by powdered sugar.
Many grocery stores carry pineapple preserves, but sometimes you have to look closely. I almost walked out of my grocery store but finally spotted it on the very top shelf. So if you arent sure if your grocery store carries pineapple preserves, definitely ask. I have had success at Vons. And if that fails, there is always Amazon. Another lifes pleasure that makes me very very happy.
And one l last tip DONT microwave butter or cream cheese for frosting! The frosting is pretty straight forward but one word of caution use room temperature NEVER MICROWAVED butter and cream cheese! I used to wonder why my frostings were runny and then I read that you should never microwave butter or cream cheese for frosting and it has made all the difference!
If your frosting is runny for whatever reason, then you can stick it in the refrigerator to thicken up. You can also mix in additional powdered sugar but I would be very cautious about doing this as this can make the frosting overly sweet.
The Best Carrot Cake Recipe
This is my favorite recipe for homemade carrot cake! This cake is so easy to make, perfectly moist, and topped with an easy homemade cream cheese frosting.
I feel like carrot cake is a dessert most people tend to only make around Easter. But honestly, carrot cake is such an incredible dessert and I think it should be enjoyed all year long. Especially when it comes to this recipe.
I know it can be a bold statement to call a recipe the best, but I truly mean it with this one. Not only is this cake easy to make, but its so incredibly moist and full of flavor that its almost impossible to stop at one piece.
Once you realize how easy it is to make a carrot cake from scratch, youll want to make it over and over again.
To make this carrot cake, youll start by mixing up your dry ingredients. One important thing when measuring out your dry ingredients is to make sure to spoon and level your flour.
You want to avoid packing the flour into the measuring cup, otherwise, youll end up with too much in your recipe. Or if you have a food scale, you can also weigh your ingredients to get an accurate measurement.
I also really love some spice in my carrot cake so I use some ground cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. All three spices add such a wonderful flavor to this cake, but arent too overpowering. They really take this cake from good to absolutely amazing, trust me.
Baking Tips for Carrot Cake
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How To Make Carrot Cake From Scratch
Heres a quick overview of the steps:
How To Make The Carrot Cake
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Why This Recipe Works
Shredded carrots Its an absolute must that you use shredded carrots in this recipe. Why? Well, because shredded carrots will bake into the cake quickly and shredding them will release a lot of the moisture into the cake batter which is key to making this carrot cake recipe super moist.
Easy ingredients A three-layer carrot cake might seem intimidating but I promise its really not. And, its made all that more easy when you use simple ingredients that you probably already have like flour, sugar, cinnamon, and brown sugar.
Applesauce Now, if youve never added applesauce to a cake mix before, this might be a game-changer for you. I add it for two reasons: To cut back on the oil and it makes the cake more moist and chewy and a little bit denser.
Cream cheese frosting Id argue that this moist carrot cake recipe just doesnt work with any other kind of frosting. It has to be cream cheese because the slight sourness of it offsets the sweetness of the cake and just works so well, no other icing could compare!
Lizzys Must Make Carrot Cake
Want to hear something funny? These photos make me laugh because I made this cake for my birthday and the day after I looked at the half eaten cake and thought well, maybe Ill try to snap s few photos. So the frosting isnt quite as soft as it should be and the cake looks a little disheveled in the back. But something great about this cake is that you dont need any fancy cake equipment to make it look beautiful! No spinning cake plate, or piping bags or tiny carrot decorations. This is a cake anyone can make and have it look beautiful. And dont worry, its going to taste amazing too!
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Try These Cake Recipes
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine #1 ingredients. Add #2 ingredients. Stir in #3 ingredients.
- Pour into a lightly greased 9 x 13 , two 9-inch pans or three 8-inch pans.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes for the 9×13 and 9-inch pans and 25-30 minutes for the 8-inch pans. You’re looking for an inserted toothpick to come out clean.
- Let cakes cool for 10 minutes in the pan and then remove to a cooling rack and let cool completely.
For the frosting:
- Beat the butter and cream cheese until nice and fluffy. Add in the vanilla and powdered sugar and beat until nice and smooth.
- Invert the cake onto a cake plate or stand.
- Apply a generous dollop of frosting and spread…
- Gently place the second cake on top and continue frosting. Repeat with the third cake if you made three.
- Refrigerate for an hour before serving for best results.