There are many carrot cake recipes out there. And it’s hard to decipher which one to pick – since they all seem pretty similar. Your quest is over – this is the best carrot cake recipe and all you will ever need. It can’t be messed up. It tastes delicious. The cake is light and airy and a real crowd pleaser. And thanks to its many wonderful qualities – and to the person who shared it with me – it even deserves a yoga breath of satisfaction.
Here’s what you need:
For the cake:
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil (I used safflower; canola is also fine)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 8-oz cans crushed pineapple, drained well (or most of a 20-oz can, and you can give the rest to the person keeping you company while you bake – your welcome Patrick)
2 cups well packed grated carrots (I grated on the fancy side of my grater) (about 5 medium carrots)
3 teaspoons cinnamon
For the frosting
(if you want to frost the cake – depending on how generously you frost you will likely have extra frosting):
1 stick butter at room temperature
2 8-oz packages cream cheese (taken out of the fridge for about 20 mins)
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Here’s what you do:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Slowly add the sugar, oil and vanilla and beat to combine.
3. Slowly add the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and baking soda) and beat to combine.
4. Stir in the nuts and pineapple. Then stir in the carrots and cinnamon.
5. Pour into well greased:
- two 8″ cake pans (that’s what the recipe says but there is a lot of batter so not sure it will fit perfectly), OR
- one 8″ cake pan and one 9″ cake pan (that’s what I did), OR
- a large baking pan (probably 9×13 – I have done this in the past and it also works great, especially if you don’t want to make a layer cake which, trust me, takes some extra steps that I wasn’t so good at).
6. Bake the cake for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool before frosting.
7. To make the frosting, combine the butter, cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat the ingredients together with a hand mixture until fully combined and whipped up slightly.
PUTTING IT TOGETHER:
8. Frost your cake**: If you made the cake in a baking pan, easy! Just spread as much of the frosting as you want over the top using a spatula and dig in! If you made a layer cake, you need to remove the layers from the pans first. Then, place the first layer on a plate or cake stand. Spread some frosting across the top. Place the next layer on top of that. Spread a lot of frosting across the top of that one. Then, frost the sides too if you want.
**I am not an expert baker or froster. I would say that this cake turned out amazingly delicious, but not as pretty as one you would see in a bakery window. Here are some things I learned:
If your layers don’t come out perfectly from the pans, that’s okay. First, Patrick liked it because he got to eat the stuck parts out of the pan. Second, just put more frosting to fill in the holes when frosting the cake, and whomever eats that piece just gets a lucky jackpot of frosting.
Frosting the tops of the layers is pretty easy. Frosting the sides is harder. I learned to put more frosting than you need. Get it spread all around. Then, grab a butter knife to smooth it out at the end so it doesn’t look like a 5-year old frosted your cake (no offense to the kids out there). As you smooth, some frosting will come off, but the cake will just get prettier.