My Aunt Diane shared this recipe with me. She’s the baker in the family. And I’ve been making it for years ever since.
When I was a pastry chef, during Restaurant Week, I baked these into hundreds of mini cakes, generously frosted them, and then coated the sides with chopped, salted pecans. They were a hit.
When my now-husband and I first started dating, I turned this into a four-layer cake that weighed about 50 pounds 😉, wrapped it in a pink box tied with a plaid pastel ribbon, and casually dropped it off at his family’s house for their Easter celebration. After that effort, there was no hiding I was into the guy.
And back in 2008, I featured the recipe in one of my weekly articles I wrote for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Clearly, I’m a fan.
I hope you are, too.Print
A classic carrot cake recipe with no crushed pineapple, no shredded coconut, no dried fruits, no nuts and not a lot of spices. Just simple and delicious.
For the Cake:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (240 g)
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 cups granulated sugar (400 g)
- 1 ½ cups mild-flavored oil (such as vegetable oil)
- 4 eggs
- 3 cups peeled & grated carrots (12 oz)
For the Frosting:
- 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature (16TB, 8 oz)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 lb powdered sugar
For the Cake:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9x13 pan.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and oil. Add the eggs and whisk to emulsify. With a spatula, stir in the flour mixture until almost, but not quite, combined. Then stir in the carrots just until everything is well combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a tester comes out clean, ~40 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan, then frost and enjoy!
For the Frosting:
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until completely smooth. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add in the vanilla. Gradually add in the powdered sugar and beat on low speed until creamy and smooth.
- You can use either a glass or metal baking pan for this recipe. My aunt recommends baking the cake in a glass plan. I used a metal pan. 😉
- If you intend to flip out the cake from the pan and then frost, vs. frosting, slicing and serving from the pan, I recommend lining the bottom of the pan with parchment.
- To grate the carrots, I used the large holes on a box grater. I would think a food processor with a shredding attachment would be faster and easier - but also require more clean up. I used 4 large carrots.
- When making the frosting, be sure the butter, and especially the cream cheese, are at a very soft room temperature. It's near impossible to beat out lumps from cold cream cheese.
- Powdered sugar can get clumpy. As I hate sifting it (it takes too long and is messy), I like to use an unopened 1-pound box for this recipe. Since no air/moisture has affected the powdered sugar, there's no sifting required!
- This recipe would also make 24 frosted cupcakes. Yum. (Bake 18 - 20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking.)
Keywords: Carrot Cake, Cream Cheese Frosting, Easter Recipes, Spring Recipes, No Crushed Pineapple