Happy spring, my friends! We have been in full spring-fling over here in California for a couple of weeks now but it’s no less exciting that the season has officially begun. To celebrate Easter and the spring season, my friends and I are posting some of our favorite Easter desserts today. Get ready to pin & print ALL of these, yum! Michael is making Easter Dessert Kabobs, Julie is making a Bunny Butt Cake, Jen is making Carrot Scones with Cream Cheese Glaze, and Brittni is making a S’more Dessert Pizza…wowza! I’m already feeling the Easter candy sugar rush coming on. Today, I’m sharing one of my favorite recipes of all time, The Very Best Carrot Cake!
In my opinion this really is THE best recipe for perfect homestyle carrot cake…and I’ve tried quite a few. It’s simple to make, you don’t even need a mixer, it’s incredibly moist, and has just the right amount of cinnamon.
Also, there are absolutely zero nuts, raisins, pineapple or any other mix-ins to be found. Did I mention that I’m a carrot cake purest at heart? No, nothing but tons of freshly grated carrot (which is essential) and beautiful batter, baked up and layered with sweet cream cheese frosting. I add an extra step by crumb coating my cake with a thin layer of frosting and freezing it for about 30 minutes so that it’s nice and firm before fully frosting it. It’s not a necessary step but it makes frosting and adding the nuts so much easier!
Yes, I add nuts (after leaving them out of the batter) to the outside of the carrot cake to give it a pretty and delicious finishing touch. Because I’m ok with nuts if they are outside of my cake with a nice barrier of frosting in between. It’s the little things that make the perfect cake my friends!
Of course if you are nuts (ha!) and like pecans or raisins inside of your carrot cake, I say mix-em’ right in. This recipe is forgiving, it won’t mind, it would love to become your definition of the very best carrot cake as well, and I’m sure it will. Happy Spring!
- 4 eggs
- 1¼ cups vegetable oil
- 2 cups white sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 3 cups (packed) freshly grated carrots
- 3-4 cups chopped pecans - optional for outside of the cake
- Cream Cheese Frosting:
- ½ cup butter, softened
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 4 cups confectioners sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two round 9" cake pans and set aside. Note: I grease mine well with butter and dust with flour. Give the pans a good bang over the sink to remove any extra flour. You can also line the bottoms of your pans with parchment rounds for extra insurance although I don't usually need to.
- Peel and grate carrots and set aside. I use a food processor to grate mine fast but you can use a box grater as well. Note: Use freshly grated carrots. Store bought pre-grated carrots are too dry.
- In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla extract.
- In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir into the dry ingredients.
- Fold in the carrots and divide between the prepared pans.
- Bake in for 40 minutes rotating pans once during the baking for even rise in both pans. Cakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool 10 minutes in the pans and turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. If you are making these a day ahead, allow to cool and wrap each round in plastic wrap. Store at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
- To make the frosting: Beat butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Slowly mix in confectioners sugar, salt and vanilla extract until smooth.
- To frost the cake: Place one cake round on a cake plate. Top with about 1 cup of frosting or as much as you would like, just save enough for the outside of the cake. Top with the second half and apply a thin layer of frosting to the entire cake. This is the crumb coat. Freeze for 30 minutes until firm. Frost with the remaining frosting. If desired, press chopped pecans into frosting around the sides of the cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve.