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Classic Carrot Cake Recipe

Published April 02, 2010        by Rae Ann

Carrot Cake Recipe

A delicious cake for any time of the year, this mildly spiced cake is best when created from scratch and then topped with mouth-watering cream cheese frosting!

Cake Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 pound carrots (8 to 10 medium carrots), peeled and shredded on a box grater or in a food processor (about 2 3/4 cups)
  • 2 cups pecans (1 cup finely chopped for batter, 1 cup coarsely chopped for decorating sides of cake)

Cake Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter three 9-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment paper, and butter parchment. Dust with flour, tapping out excess. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and nutmeg.
  2. Beat butter and sugars with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat 3 minutes. Add vanilla, water, and carrots. Beat until well combined, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low, and add flour mixture, then finely chopped pecans.
  3. Scrape batter into prepared pans, dividing evenly. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cool in pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around edges of cakes to loosen, and turn out cakes onto rack. Turn right side up, and let cool completely.
  4. Using a serrated knife, trim rounded top of 2 cakes. Place one trimmed cake, cut side up, on a serving platter. Spread 1 cup frosting over cake. Top with second trimmed cake, cut side down. Spread 1 cup frosting over cake. Top with remaining cake. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides. Gently press coarsely chopped pecans onto sides of cake. Refrigerate 1 hour (or up to 1 day, covered) before serving.

Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:

  • 16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 sticks (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and brought to room temperature
  • 2 pounds confectioners' sugar, sifted

Cream Cheese Frosting Directions:

  1. Beat cream cheese and vanilla with a mixer on medium speed until creamy. Gradually add butter, beating until incorporated after each addition.
  2. Reduce speed to low. Gradually add confectioners' sugar, and beat until fluffy and smooth. Frosting can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days; bring to room temperature and stir well before using. This frosting can also be used on pumpkin bars or even sugar cookies.