The Best Carrot Cake recipe has layers of moist & flavorful carrot cake topped with a luscious whipped cream cheese frosting, and chopped pecans. No extra stuff inside the cake, just shredded carrots!
CARROT CAKE RECIPE
I feel like we should celebrate that this carrot cake recipe finally made it onto the blog. You see, I have tried for 3 years now to get it posted before Easter.
The first year I had just had a baby so no chance there.
The second year I forgot to add the eggs.... probably no need to explain what happened there, haha 🙂
And last but not least I dropped the baked and cooled carrot cakes onto the tile floor. The cakes were heavily wrapped in plastic and magically they were intact but the glass plate did not fare so well.
Come to find out when I went to frost them that there was glass chards EVERYWHERE stuck in the cake from the broken plate.
But finally this recipe for the best carrot cake ever is on the blog!
I make a lot of food so the recipes that I label as 'the best' are the ones that I make again and again. Or in this case, I make this carrot cake every single Easter and sometimes for my husbands birthday cause it's his favorite cake ever.
I've never had this recipe fail me so fingers crossed that you all love it like I do.
There is lots of information below and tips & tricks, and what not to do. So take a minute and read below. I want it to turn out perfect for all of you 🙂
MY TIPS FOR MAKING THIS RECIPE
- It's super important that you bake and cool the carrot cakes and then wrap them in plastic and let them refrigerate overnight. Or at the very least 6-8 hours. It's much easier to frost a cold cake.
- This recipe can also be made into a 9x13 baking pan. Directions are with the recipe below.
- Do not use low-fat cream cheese or light sour cream. Trust me, you want the creaminess from the fat and plus it tastes better than the chemical ingredients they had to the "lite" stuff.
- 3 cups of shredded carrots is almost a 1lb bag. I use all the carrots in the bag except for 1 usually. Don't try and add that extra carrot (trust me I've tried this) it will make the cake too wet.
- This cake gets better and better the longer it's in the fridge. It's not rare for us to still be eating this cake on day 3 and 4. Even with the chopped pecans on the frosting!
- I make the cake the night before I need it (cool completely) and then I wrap it in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge overnight. In the morning I make the frosting and frost the cake, and garnish with pecans. Loosely cover it with tin foil and put it in the fridge all day and pull it out that night when I need it. Obviously your timeline may be different, so plan accordingly.
- While frosting the cake the frosting may not seem thick enough, but that's ok. As the frosted cake sits in the fridge it all hardens up nicely and comes together. That's why it's important to allow time for the frosted and decorated cake to be in the fridge. I would say at least 4 hours before serving. Even longer is fine too.
- Please DO NOT use the pre-shredded carrots you can buy in the produce section of the store. They are way too big of shreds for this cake. Shred your own carrots on the fine side of a cheese grater.
- To avoid lumps in the cream cheese frosting make sure it's softened well. I place my unwrapped bar of cream cheese on a microwave-safe plate and cook for about 25-30 seconds.
TRY THESE OTHER CARROT CAKE RECIPES
- Sheet Pan Carrot Cake Bars
- Pineapple Pecan Carrot Cake
- Carrot Cake Cheesecake Whoopie Pies
- Tropical Carrot Cake with Pineapple Pudding Frosting
The Best Carrot Cake
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups shredded carrots (almost a 1 lb bag)
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable or canola oil
Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1 bar (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
- 5 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon sour cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two 9-inch round cake pans, or a 9x13 cake pan, and spray with cooking spray and dust with flour. Set aside.
- In a small mixing bowl combine the all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. Stir with a whisk to combine and break up clumps.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, or use a hand mixer and a bowl, combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, and eggs. Beat together for about 1 minute until it's creamy and combined. With the mixer on LOW speed drizzle in the oil slowly to avoid splashing. Gradually increase the mixer speed and beat until it's lighter in color and combined well. About 1 minute.
- Add the shredded carrots and the dry ingredients into the bowl. Mix together on low speed just until combined. Divide the batter between the two round cake pans, or put it all into the 9x13 dish.
- Bake the 9" round cake pans for 30-32 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean. Bake the 9x13 dish for 40-45 minutes.
- Let the cake cool completely in the 9x13 pan. For the round cake pans, let cool for about 15 minutes in the pans and then invert the cakes onto a cooling rack and let cool completely.
- Once cooled, wrap in plastic wrap and let refrigerate overnight (preferred) or at least 6 hours. It's much easier to frost a cold cake!
- MAKE THE FROSTING: Add softened cream cheese, softened butter, sour cream, and vanilla extract into a bowl. Beat together for 1 minute on high speed. Scrape sides of bowl with spatula as needed. Add the powdered sugar and beat together until combined and fluffy. Frost layered cake with the round baking pans, or spread evenly on top of the 9x13 cake. Top with the chopped pecans.
- Cover the cake loosely with tin foil and let it refrigerate for 4-6 hours before serving (or longer!). This cake is best served cold but of course, it can also be eaten right away too.
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Recipe found at Mel's Kitchen Café years ago and I've been making it since!