The Best Carrot Cake
Fluffy, moist carrot cake with cream cheese frosting
This is the first carrot cake recipe I ever made, and the only carrot cake recipe I make. My sister’s close friend, Danika gave her the recipe several years ago, when they were in high school. I recently found out that Danika’s dad, Lee is the original author of the recipe, and I’m so grateful to them for sharing it with me!
There’s two things that all bakers claim they do the best. Banana bread and carrot cake. But trust me when I say this: This is the best carrot cake you will ever try. Ever.
As a self-proclaimed cake connoisseur, I have tried many carrot cakes, but none compare to this one. There’s a reason this is the only carrot cake recipe I’ve ever made.
It is soft, fluffy (the oil instead of butter makes it super moist), perfectly spiced, perfectly sweetened and sufficiently carrotted.
Apart from grating the carrots, the cake batter is a breeze to assemble.
My favourite way of making carrot cake is in a rectangular pan, with a generous layer of cream cheese frosting (the same one I use for my lemon poppyseed cake and red velvet cupcakes). It isn’t anything fancy, but it is awfully comforting and takes me back a couple years.
Of course, you can embellish and adorn it however you would like.
This recipe makes a large 9×13 inch cake, but can be halved for a smaller (9×9 inch) cake. You can also frost it with mocha fudge frosting if you prefer. But quite frankly, there is nothing better than golden carrot cake speckled with nuts, covered in cream cheese frosting.
Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
For the cake:
- 2 2/3 cups (335 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1-1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp all-spice
- 4 cups (500 g) carrots, shredded - roughly 6-8
- 1/4 cup (50 mL) lemon juice
- 2 cups (400 g) granulated sugar
- 1 1/4 cup (300 mL) flavourless oil (such as canola
- or vegetable)
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup (130 g) walnuts or pecans, chopped – (you can increase the quantity to 1 1/2 cups if you like)
- other optional add-ins (1 cup of chocolate chips, raisins, ½ cup desiccated coconut)
For the frosting:
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 4 oz (100-115 g) cream cheese at room temp.
- 2 cups confectioners’ (icing) sugar
- 1./2 lime or lemon, juiced (about 1 tbsp)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the topping:
- ½ cup walnuts, chopped
For the cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350 F, grease a 9x13 inch pan with butter and dust with flour. You can alternatively use three 9 inch pans.
- In a small bowl, stir together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice) and set aside.
- In another bowl, toss the carrots with the lemon juice and set aside.
- In a large bowl, blend the sugar, oil, vanilla and eggs until smooth.
- Add the flour mixture, stirring just to combine.
- Fold in the carrot mixture and nuts. The nuts are optional, but I highly recommend adding them! You can also add in chocolate chips or raisins if you like.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 45-60 minutes (if baking multiple layers, the baking time will need to be adjusted accordingly), or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.
To make the frosting:
- To make the frosting, blend together the butter, cream cheese, vanilla and lemon juice.
- Gradually add in the confectioners sugar and beat until smooth. The frosting should hold a soft peak when you lift up the whisk/beater.
- I like to garnish the cake with some cinnamon and chopped nuts, but this is totally optional.