Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake

This is what I grew up knowing to be carrot cake… a smooth moist spice cake that my mother always made in a baking pan with just a thin layer of frosting and chopped walnuts sprinkled over top. The first time I had carrot cake made from another recipe I was not only disappointed, I was a little disgusted. To this day I don’t care for the textured traditional carrot cake with it’s stringy pieces of grated carrot and thick greasy frosting, blah!

I have slightly modified the ingredients of this family recipe, but only out of necessity. It originally called for carrot baby food, which I found near impossible to find in the UK. So, I just used canned carrots and pureed them myself. The result was good but a little to dense. So I had to fiddle around a little more to get the results I wanted. I ended up reducing the oil a slightly and I changed how the cake batter was put together. I find this consistently produces a moist but not to dense cake.

This recipe works for both a double layer round cake with just the center and top frosted, or a slab cake with just the top decorated. Sprinkled with walnuts is how I like it, but my husband (who has this as his birthday cake every year) prefers a walnutless finish. When I make this for my husband’s bithday, I like to frost the sides as well as the top and middle (see notes).

Ingredients

Cake

  • 2c all-purpose flour
  • 1&1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1&1/4c canola oil
  • 1 x 14.5 oz can of carrots, drained
  • 4 eggs
  • 2c white granulated sugar

Frosting

  • 4 TBSP butter or margarine, melted
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2c powdered (confectioners’) sugar
  • 1c chopped walnuts (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350f and coat either 2 x 9″ round cake pans OR a 9×13″ baking pan with baking spray.
  2. Measure out the flour, soda, salt and cinnamon in a small bowl and whisk to combine.
  3. Place the oil and drained carrots in a blender (or use a beaker & emersion blender) and puree.
  4. Beat the eggs and sugar for 3 minutes on medium speed, either in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a deep mixing bowl with hand mixer. Scrape down the sides half way.
  5. Add the carrot mixture all at once, mix on low until just blended. Scrape down the sides.
  6. Add the flour mixture all at once, mix on low until just blended. Scrape down the sides and stir gently a few times with the spatula to make sure everything is well mixed but still light.

Depending on what size cake you are making…

9″ Round Layer cake

  1. Divide the mixture evenly into the prepared pans, tap gently on a hard surface to remove any large air pockets.
  2. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  3. Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then turn out on their tops onto cooling racks and cool completely before frosting.
  4. Frost the cooled cakes middle and sides only, sprinkle the top with walnuts (if using). Want to frost the sides too? See notes below.

9×13 Slab Cake

  1. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, tap gently on a hard surface to remove any large air pockets.
  2. Bake in the preheated oven for 50 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  3. Place on a rack, in the pan and cool completely before frosting.
  4. Frost in the pan, sprinkle with walnuts (if using) and cut into squares.
  5. Serve straight from the pan.

Frosting

  1. Beat the melted butter, cream cheese and vanilla until smooth.
  2. Stir in the powdered sugar to moisten, then beat until smooth and fluffy.
  3. Place in an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (up to 3 days)
  4. Stir before using.

Makes One 9 Inch 2 Layer Cake OR One 9×13 Inch Slab Cake – 12 Servings

Notes

  • If you want to frost the sides as well as the top and center of the 9″ round cake (as
    pictured), then double the recipe for frosting.
  • I also saved out one walnut half, then pulsed the rest of the walnuts in my mini-chopper before pressing them to the sides of the cake.

Carrot Cake Cut