Shout out to some new blog readers – especially our new friend, Lindsay (thanks for subscribing to our posts by email)! We went to a friend’s party over the weekend and brought this carrot cake for dessert. It was a hit! I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to put together, and how quickly it disappeared at the party. I hope everyone got a chance to taste it!
For some reason, carrot cake makes me think of Spring, even though carrots are more of a summer food, right? Carrot cake also makes me think of Easter – I guess the carrot (usually made of icing) that many bakeries add makes me think of bunnies, which leads to the Easter bunny, and then it’s just associated in my head that carrot cake = Easter. So, since it’s technically Spring, I figured it was the perfect time to try my hand at making a carrot cake for the first time.
For this recipe, I kept it simple and didn’t include any add-ins besides the carrots, but I did use applesauce in place of some oil to make it a little healthier. I made a simple cream cheese frosting and sprinkled some pecans on top for a decorative touch. (I tried to get walnuts, but Trader Joe’s recalled all of the walnuts they sell in their stores due to a potential salmonella contamination.). I think some people are very decided on what goes in their carrot cake and won’t budge on ingredients. Some like add-ins such as raisins or walnuts or pecans, and I also saw some recipes that added in canned pineapple. Feel free to add those ingredients and experiment. Go wild. Enjoy the process!
Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
For this carrot cake recipe I kept it simple, but feel free to add raisins walnuts or pecans. Go wild. Enjoy the process!
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes
Yield: (1) 9-inch, 2-layer cake
- 3 cups shredded carrots (~6 large carrots or 16-18 baby carrots)
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 cup applesauce
- 1/4 cup of pecans
- 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups powdered/confectioners’ sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2-3 tablespoons milk (your choice dairy or almond or coconut)
Cream Cheese Frosting:
- Preheat oven to 350*F.
- Butter 2 round, 9-inch cake pans. Then, add a tablespoon of flour and shake the pan until all the buttered surfaces are coated in flour. Add more flour as necessary, then shake out any excess. Set aside.
- If using regular carrots, wash and peel. If using baby carrots, just shred by hand or using a food processor.
- In a medium bowl, add four, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Whisk to combine well.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat eggs on high speed for about a minute. Add brown sugar and beat on high for 4 minutes.
- With the mixer off, add in the canola oil, vanilla, and applesauce. Then mix to combine well.
- Add in the flour mixture 1/2 cup at a time and mix until it is just incorporated into the batter.
- Use a spatula to fold in the grated carrots until just combined.
- Divide the batter equally among the two cake pans and bake for 24-28 minutes. Insert a knife or toothpick into the center of the cake; it should come out clean.
- Remove cakes from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.
- While the cakes are cooling, make the frosting. Using a stand mixer, whisk cream cheese until smooth.
- Add powdered sugar and blend until smooth. Add softened butter, vanilla, and milk, and mix until smooth.
- Remove the cakes from the pans, by running a sharp knife around the edge of the pan.
- Place one cake layer on a cake stand or cutting board. Cover the top of the cake layer with a generous amount of frosting (about half of the frosting).
- Place the second cake layer on top and then cover the top with the remaining frosting.
- Chop the pecans roughly, then sprinkle over the top of the cake.
Adapted from: The Healthier Carrot Cake Recipe, Natasha’s Kitchen