The Best Carrot Cake Ever


I tried to talk my mom into other birthday desserts this year to no avail. She loves carrot cake and there is nothing wrong with that! 🙂 One of my friends (a great cook!) shared her favorite recipe with me to try this year. It was wonderful! The cake was unbelievably light- probably because it has cake flour rather than all-purpose, and canola oil rather than butter. It is also gently mixed by hand- the texture was very delicate. I made a simple cream cheese frosting with fresh orange juice to make it special. The cake recipe was adapted from The Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking Cookbook.

Happy Birthday, Mom! 🙂

Yield: Makes one 9-inch layer cake or one 9-by-13 inch cake

For the Cake:

  • 4 large carrots (3 cups shredded)
  • 2 cups cake (soft-wheat) flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1¼ cups canola oil
  • Grated zest of 1 orange
  • ½ cup raisins, plumped in hot water and drained
  • 1 cup walnuts or pecans, toasted and chopped

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 lb cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • Juice of 1/2 orange, strained
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350’F. Butter and flour a 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking pan or butter and line two 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper to make a layer cake. Butter the parchment paper.
  2. Plump the raisins: Pour boiling water over raisins and let sit 15-20 minutes. Drain and reserve.
  3. Peel and grate the carrots. (I use a Cuisinart food processor.) You should have about 3 cups. Set aside.
  4. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon. Set aside.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, eggs, oil and orange zest. Whisk thoroughly to combine. Stir in the carrots.
  6. With a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until almost fully incorporated. Add the raisins and nuts and fold to mix thoroughly. Do not overmix! Pour the batter into the prepared pan(s).
  7. Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 minutes (for 9-inch round cake pans, on convection) to 40 minutes. Watch the time closely at the end so that the cake does not overbake.
  8. Remove the cake from the oven and let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Place a cake rack on top of the pan and invert them together. Lift off the pan. Let the cake cool completely.
  9. Make the cream cheese frosting: In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until thoroughly mixed. Add the confectioners’ sugar and mix on low speed until fully combined. Beat in the orange juice and vanilla.
  10. Transfer the cooled cake to a serving platter. Using an off-set spatula, frost the cake with a thick layer of cream cheese frosting. If making a layer cake, add the second layer, and frost entire cake.
  11. Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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About Josette@thebrookcook

I live in Stony Brook, New York on Long Island. I love garlic and baking. My hobby (and love) is to try new recipes. My favorite recipe resources include The New York Times, Food and Wine, Bon Appetit, and Martha Stewart Living. Enjoy!

19 responses to “The Best Carrot Cake Ever

  1. Mari Allen

    Happy Birthday to your mom!!!!


    Date: Mon, 4 Nov 2013 00:08:45 +0000 To:

  2. Kerstin

    So glad it turned out good enough for your mom’s birthday! And thanks for the very kind compliment. I love exchanging recipes with you. 🙂

  3. Can’t help but LOVED your amazing looking bake! =D

  4. I hope you Mom had a wonderful birthday! With a homemade cake this good, her day was definitely special, just as it should be. 🙂

  5. I love carrot cakes and this looks delicious!

  6. nancycrenault

    The carrot cake was divine- so delicious & moist; it really did top off my birthday celebration. I was lucky to indulge in another round of carrot cake the next day. Twice. Lucky me!
    Love, Mom

  7. Midwestern Plant Girl

    Too funny! Sunday I was kicking around making carrot cake, but somehow my brain told me to make pound cake, which was yummy. I’ve got about 5 large carrots left in my garden… They are booked to make your carrot cake next weekend, thanks! 🙂

  8. For lack of a better word, YUMMYYYYYY!

  9. I’m with your mom. I luve me some carrot cake and this one looks amazing!
    I was very fortunate to have my grandma healthy enough to bake my wedding cake….carrot cake of course!

  10. Pingback: The Best Carrot Cake Ever | homethoughtsfromabroad626

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