The Best Carrot Cake!

I hate to brag, but I think my friend’s carrot wedding cake has been by far one of the best cakes I’ve done (if not THE best), despite the many mishaps that happened during the preparation of the said “cake”. But that’s another blog on its own.

I like how versatile this carrot cake is and how easy it is to make. The cake, and even the icing, refrigerates and freezes well which is also a bonus because it means you can make this cake way in advance.

My toddler even requested this cake for her 4th birthday. She wanted me to decorate it with unicorns. So I did! I’ve also used this simple recipe to make several carrot birthday cakes for my friends.

I’ve had some people ask me for this particular carrot cake recipe, so here it is! Finally, I’m getting around into posting it. Hope you folks enjoy making this! Happy baking!!!

NOTES:

  1. Baking times may vary depending on the oven. You’d know when your cake is done when a toothpick inserted came out clean.
  2. Please don’t overfill your baking pan. I found out during my experimentation that if I put too much batter (more than 3/4 of the pan) my cake ended up with a a very dome-y shape.
  3. Consider not just how much batter to put in your baking pan, but also how deep your pan is. The deeper the pan, the longer it will bake. The longer it will bake means the outer part of your cake will be crustier than the middle part. If you want your cake to be fluffy everywhere, you can either 1. trim the outer portions (which I think is a waste if you’d end up just tossing it out!), or 2. use Wilton bake-even strips (or make your own from wet paper towel wrapped in aluminum foil) to wrap around the bake pan for even baking. Also, with a deep pan, you can try preheating the oven to 325F and just bake for longer.
  4. Sift dry ingredients together after measuring.
  5. When freezing the unfrosted cake, make sure to wrap it tightly with saran wrap once it’s no longer hot. You don’t have to wait for the cake to cool down completely as the cake dries out the longer you leave it out. Once wrapped in saran wrap, wrap it again with aluminum foil and then put it in a freezer bag. Don’t forget to label it and date it. This cake freezes 3-4 months without any issues. Maybe even longer?

Ingredients:

Carrot Cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. table salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 3/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. of ground cloves
  • 1 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs in room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 cups (lightly packed) grated carrots

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 1/3 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 8 oz. cream cheese (full fat) at room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2-3 tbsp. whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Instructions:

Carrot Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour 8.5″ round cake pan, line with parchment.
  2. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices in a fine stainless steel colander and sift into a medium size bowl. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine vegetable oil and sugars. Beat until well combined (about 2-3 minutes). Add one egg at a time, making sure it’s fully incorporated after each addition. Add vanilla.
  4. Add flour mixture in 3 parts, starting at the lowest setting of the mixer moving up to 2. Add in carrots and mix just until fully incorporated.
  5. Wet bake-even strips and wrap around the baking pan.
  6. Spread the batter evenly into prepared baking pan and bake for 70 minutes (start checking the cake after an hour as oven temperature varies) or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. If the cake isn’t done after 70 minutes, check every 5-10 minutes for doneness.
  7. Place the cake on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes then take the cake out of the pan and set it on the wire rack to cool some more. (If freezing, don’t let the cake sit out to completely cool. Instead, wrap it with saran wrap when no longer hot to keep the moisture in. However, if the cake is going to be decorated right away, let the cake sit on the wire rack to cool completely. Wrap it with saran wrap and cool in the freezer for few hours before icing it so crumbs won’t stick to the icing).

Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Beat butter and cream cheese until pale and fluffy (about 2 minutes; don’t over beat or the icing will turn out grainy rather than smooth).
  2. Add powdered sugar one cup at a time starting at the lowest setting.
  3. Add whipping cream 1 tbsp. at a time until desired consistency of icing is reached.
  4. Add vanilla and beat until fluffy (about 3 minutes).

Assembly

  1. Cut the cake in half making 2 layers or in thirds making 3 layers. Top each layer with buttercream and spread evenly.
  2. Frost and smooth the outside and the top with buttercream. (For a semi-naked look, apply just a thin crumb coat on the outside and smooth it out).
  3. Decorate the cake as you wish! (I have used sprinkles, pumpkin seeds with grated carrots, chopped roasted walnuts, meringue cookies, etc. You can even decorate it with edible flowers if you like! The options are endless! Feel free to experiment and express your creative geniuses).

Enjoy! ❤ Zhi

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