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Homemade Carrot Cake

This is a deliciously moist Carrot Cake. A simple homemade traditional cake made with the perfect amount of spices . Finish it off with a creamy Classic Cream Cheese Frosting. Everyone will ask for seconds!

Carrot cake on a wooden stand.


 

Layered cakes are perfect not only for special occasions but also just because. Why not try a couple of our favourites, including this Classic Tiramisu Layer Cake and this tasty Vanilla Cake!

This is one of my favourite Cakes, I hope so happy to be able to share it with you. This carrot cake recipe was given to me 26 years ago, baked on a special occasion by my good friend’s mother. Naturally I had to ask for the recipe and I am so glad I did!

Recipe Ingredients

  • Flour – all purpose flour or cake/ pastry flour
  • Salt
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Nutmeg – ground
  • Cinnamon – ground
  • Sugar – granulated sugar
  • Vegetable oil – I use corn or sunflower oil
  • Eggs – room temperature large eggs
  • Carrots – shredded grated carrots
  • Pecans – chopped pecans or walnuts optional

For the frosting

  • Butter – softened butter
  • Cream cheese – whole cream cheese
  • Powdered sugar – also known as confectioners’ sugar or icing sugar
  • Vanilla – vanilla extract
  • Cream – any type of cream I used half and half
  • Pecans – extra chopped pecans or walnuts for topping the finished cake.
Ingredients for the recipe.

How to Make homemade cake/pastry flour

For every cup of all purpose flour, remove two tablespoons and replace with two tablespoons of corn starch. Be sure to sift the flour and cornstarch together a couple of times, this way it is sure to be properly combined and lump free. Cake flour in cakes will give you a very tender texture and fine crumb, it will also help the cake to rise.

Why use room temperature ingredients?

With cakes and other baking, it’s always better to use room temperature ingredients. So, take any cold ingredients out of the refrigerator an hour ahead of time or sooner if it’s cool in your kitchen. Room temperature ingredients blend easier, creating a silky batter, which will help to create a light tender baked good.

Cake on a cake stand and a slice on a black plate.

How to make Carrot Cake

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg.

The dry ingredients whisked in a glass bowl.

In a large bowl beat the oil and sugar together, add the eggs and beat to combine, add the dry ingredients beating to combine.

Mixing the eggs and adding the dry ingredients.

Add the shredded carrots and half the chopped nuts if using, gently combining together with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Do not over mix.

Mixing in the carrots and nuts.

Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake pans and bake in the pre-heated oven until done, test for doneness with a toothpick, if a few crumbs stick to it or it is dry then the cake is done.

Batter in the pans before and after baking.

Let the cake cool in the pans, then move to wire racks to cool completely before frosting.

Frosting the cake.

To make the frosting

In a medium bowl or mixer beat together the butter and cream cheese on medium-high speed until creamy. Lower the speed to low/medium add the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, beat well after each addition. Add the cream and vanilla, beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Making the frosting in the bowl.

Let the cake cool completely then frost with the prepared icing. Top with chopped pecans if desired.

Baking tip

Cake is unevenly baked. Solution: Rotate the cake halfway through baking and check the oven temperature for accuracy. You can also use cake strips soaked in water to wrap around the pan before and during baking to make the cakes flat for double layering.

FAQs

What nuts are best for a Carrot Cake?

Before I was able to get Pecans I would always use walnuts or hazelnuts in this recipe. But I have to admit Pecans are probably the tastiest. You can’t beat a Pecan! If you like raisin or currents you could add some of those too!

What are the Ingredients in a Carrot Cake?

I like the idea of a simple Carrot Cake, so you won’t find any crushed pineapple in my cake, although you will find lots of shredded carrots (3 cups to be exact) and chopped Pecans or your favourite nuts of choice.

Can I make cupcakes instead of a cake?

Yes you certainly can make carrot cake cupcakes, this recipe will make 18-24 medium sized cupcakes. Cupcakes should take about 18-22 minutes to bake.

What cake pans are used to make the cake?

I usually use two 8 inch round pans because I like a taller cake, although two 9-inch round cake pans will also work. You can either spray, grease and flour or line the pans with parchment paper.

How fine should the carrots be grated for the cake?

Finely grated carrots blend well into the batter, providing moisture and flavor without being too chunky.

I like the idea of a simple Carrot Cake, so you won’t find any crushed pineapple in my cake, although you will find lots of shredded carrots (3 cups to be exact) and chopped Pecans or your favourite nuts of choice.

I also like a creamy not overly sweet Cream Cheese Frosting. Nothing that overpowers the cake, your frosting has to compliment the cake!

Carrot cake on a white plate.

How to store it

The cake can keep covered unfrosted at room temperature for up to two days. If it is frosted it should be refrigerated. It will last up to four days in the fridge.

Just bring it to room temperature (for about an hour or so)  before serving.

Can you Freeze Carrot Cake?

Yes, you can actually freeze Carrot Cake baked and frosted! It is best to refrigerate it for about 6-8 hours before freezing so the frosting firms up and you don’t ruin it.

Before placing it in the freezer, be sure to wrap it well in plastic wrap then either place it in an air tight bag or container. If you prefer to freeze the cakes before frosting that is fine too, just wrap it the same way.

The cake can be frozen for up to 3 months, if frosted its best to thaw in the fridge.

A little History about Carrot Cake

Apparently a type of cake, called Carrot Pudding was enjoyed in the Medieval Times. The traditional Cake recipe was invented in the early 1900s in England.

It was actually baked in a loaf pan as a sweet bread. Then in the middle 1900s the “carrot bread/cake” was brought to America, and was made popular by George C Page.

He hired bakers to find ways to use up the over abundance of canned carrots. By the 1970s carrot cake was all the rage, the new dessert was  also considered “healthy”!

I love making dessert recipes for my Italian friends and family. But I have to say between this Carrot Cake my Coconut Cake,  and this Old Fashioned Banana Cake, I don’t know which one is more popular.

A slice of cake on a black plate.

In my we love them all and I think they would all make a perfect Birthday or Special Occasion Cake. Enjoy!

Carrot cake with a slice cut.

Homemade Carrot Cake

Rosemary Molloy
The absolute best traditional carrot cake recipeyou will ever taste! Moist, simple with the perfect cream cheese frosting. Just try it.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 servings
Calories 614 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

FOR THE CAKE

  • 2 cups flour (all purpose or cake/pastry flour)
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 cups sugar
  • cups vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs (room temperature)*
  • 3 cups shredded carrots (approximately 3 large or 5 medium)
  • ½ cup pecans coarsely chopped

*remove from fridge 30-45 minutes before using.

    FOR THE FROSTING

    • ½ cup butter softened
    • 5 ounces cream cheese
    • 5 cups powdered sugar
    • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
    • ¼ cup half and half cream or whole milk

    EXTRAS

    • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

    Instructions
     

    • Pre heat oven to 350F (180C). Grease and flour, spray or line two 8 or 9 inch round cake pans (20 or 23 cm) with parchment paper. (I used two 8 inch).
    • In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and cinnamon excluding the vegetable oil, sugar, carrots and pecans.
    • In a large bowl beat the oil and sugar together for 1 minute, then add the eggs and beat together for another minute, add the dry ingredients beating for one minute, add the shredded carrots and 1/2 a cup of the chopped nuts(if desired) combining together with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Do not over mix.
    • Pour the cake batter evenly into the prepared cake pans and bake for approximately 30-35 minutes, test for doneness with a toothpick, if a few crumbs stick to it or it is dry then the cake is done. Let the cake cool in the pans, then move to wire racks to cool completely before frosting.

    FOR THE FROSTING

    • In a medium bowl beat together the butter and cream cheese on medium/high speed until creamy approximately 1 minute. Lower the speed to low/medium and add the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, beat well after each addition. Add the half and half and vanilla and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
    • Let the cake cool completely then frost with Cream cheese frosting. Top with chopped pecans if desired. Enjoy!

    Notes

    To make homemade cake/pastry flour – for every cup of all purpose flour, remove two tablespoons and replace with two tablespoons of corn starch. Be sure to sift the flour and cornstarch together a couple of times, this way it is sure to be properly combined and lump free. Cake flour in cakes will give you a very tender texture and fine crumb, it will also help the cake to rise.
    For room temperature ingredients remove from the fridge approximately one hour before using.
    Before I was able to get Pecans I would always use walnuts or hazelnuts in this recipe. But I have to admit Pecans are probably the tastiest. You can’t beat a Pecan! If you like raisins or currents you could add some of those too!
    You can make carrot cake cupcakes, this recipe will make 18-24 medium sized cupcakes. Cupcakes should take about 18-22 minutes to bake.
    The cake can keep covered unfrosted at room temperature for up to two days. If it is frosted it should be refrigerated. It will last up to four days in the fridge. Just bring it to room temperature (for about an hour or so)  before serving.
    You can actually freeze Carrot Cake baked and frosted! It is best to refrigerate it for about 6-8 hours before freezing so the frosting firms up and you don’t ruin it.
    Before placing it in the freezer, be sure to wrap it well in plastic wrap then either place it in an air tight bag or container. If you prefer to freeze the cakes before frosting that is fine too, just wrap it the same way.
    The cake can be frozen for up to 4 months, if frosted its best to thaw in the fridge.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 614kcal | Carbohydrates: 105g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.3g | Cholesterol: 96mg | Sodium: 340mg | Potassium: 279mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 85g | Vitamin A: 5855IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 82mg | Iron: 2mg
    Did You Make This Recipe?Please leave a comment below or pin it to your Pinterest account!

    Updated all new from June 28, 2014.

    87 Comments

    1. 5 stars
      This cake is so delicious, lasted less than a day. And I think I probably ate about half myself. It was so so so good! Thank you Rosemary for all your amazing recipes.

      1. Hi Barbi, thanks so much, glad you enjoyed it and the recipes. This is one of my favourite cakes also and yes I could probably eat it all myself. 🙂 Take care!

    2. 5 stars
      I made for Easter and it turned out great! When I made the icing, I didn’t have 5 cups of powdered sugar on hand so I used what I had which was 2 1/2. the ice and came out perfect and I’m glad I didn’t put in the 5 cups I think it would’ve been too sweet. it was very easy to make so I will be making this more often.

    3. 5 stars
      On time when making my daughter’s carrot cake..we ran out of vanilla ( called for 2tsp- we substituted 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 teaspoon coconut extract. )
      Yummy

    4. 5 stars
      This was delicious. My husband said its the best carrot cake he had ever tasted 🙂 The only amendment I made was to half the frosting ingredients so I only had frosting on the top and in the centre. It was very nice. Thank you.

    5. i love carrot cake. but the 7 cups of sugar always scares me away. would love a recipe for a less sugar . but i know it probably wont taste as good.. lol

      1. Hi Bridget, if you don’t frost it, you save 5 cups of sugar. 🙂 Also you aren’t eating the whole cake unless of course you want to. 🙂 It’s also a special occasion cake not one you would eat everyday. Take care.

    6. Could I make this as a dessert loaf vs a cake? and if so, how many small or large tins would it make? Thinking more of a dessert loaf vs a cake per se…

      1. Hi Lisa, so since an 8 inch cake pan holds 6 cups and the recipe is for two pans that would be 12 cups. A 9 inch loaf pan holds 8 cups and an 8 inch loaf pan holds 4 cups so you could use a 9 inch and an 8 inch loaf pan as a substitute. Hope that make sense. Let me know.

    7. I’m thinking about a triple layer cake…one layer carrot cake, one layer coconut cake and one layer banana cake. Frosted with cream cheese and sprinkled with pecans.

    8. 5 stars
      Hi, great recipe! I’ve been making this for months and its wonderful every time!! Just wondering, if I was to make this in a rectangular tin, what size tin would I need? Thank you.

      1. Hi Henry, thanks so much, glad you like it. I would say a 9×13 inch / 23×33 cm rectangle pan. Hope that helps. Take and have a great weekend!

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