Carrot cake is often a favorite cake for many people. It not only has a nice dense character, but the grated carrot helps to ensure that the cake remains moist. Additionally, the idea of sneaking a few extra vegetables into the kids’ diet can be very appealing for many parents. Of course, the biggest reason that carrot cake is so popular is because it is so easy to make and is absolutely delicious. Typically, a carrot cake is topped with a luscious cream cheese frosting. While this is definitely a popular cake, it is quite different than a typical cake with buttercream icing. It has body, texture, a bit of spice, and a delicious crumb. Mastering the art of baking a wonderful carrot cake is certainly not difficult and something that will ensure you always have a unique and much-sought-after dessert option for your family, guests, potluck or any other occasion.
Assemble Quality Ingredients for Your Carrot Cake
It is important to consider the ingredients you will use for your cake. While it is not essential that you always purchase the most expensive ingredients, you do want to choose the highest quality you can afford. For example, choosing a budget cream cheese that does not have the luscious creaminess and flavor of your favorite name-brand is certainly not going to enhance the quality of the frosting you use to top your carrot cake. Quality ingredients will ensure a quality finished product.
Ingredients for Cake:
1-1/4 c vegetable oil
2 c sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
3 c grated carrots
1 c chopped pecans, optional
Ingredients for Cream Cheese Icing:
½ c softened butter
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
4 c powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 c chopped pecans, optional
Directions for Cake:
Preheat your oven to 350° F. Lightly grease and flour a 9” x 13” x 2” cake pan or baking pan.
In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the eggs, oil, sugar and the 2 tsp of vanilla. Slowly mix in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Combine well. Stir in grated carrots and chopped pecans, if using. Pour into the prepared baking pan. Bake for approximately 40 to 50 minutes until carrot cake is set and a wooden toothpick or skewer comes out clean when inserted in the middle. When the carrot cake is done baking, place it on a wire cooling rack and let it sit for 10 minutes. Run a blunt knife around the edge of the cake and invert it onto the wire cooling rack and let sit until completely cool.
Prepare Cream Cheese Frosting:
Combine softened cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and 1 tsp vanilla in a medium bowl. Beat until creamy and smooth. Stir in chopped pecans, if using. Frost the cooled carrot cake.
Alternatives for Your Carrot Cake:
Stir in ½ cup raisins with the carrots to add another depth of flavor and a sweet treat. Additionally, pineapple and coconut are also popular additions for a carrot cake. Try using an eight-ounce can of crushed pineapple that has been drained or about 3 to 4 ounces of flaked coconut. This is a great cake to have fun with. Add your favorite flavors and enjoy your carrot cake the way you like it best. Some people choose to use walnuts in place of the pecans or you can even use a combination of walnuts and pecans.
If you prefer, you can bake the carrot cake in three 9” round cake pans that have been lined with parchment paper or waxed paper. Grease and flour, then add the cake batter. Bake at 350° F for 25 to 30 minutes, until cake tests done. Cool in pans for approximately 10 minutes, and then remove to wire rack to cool completely. Place about ½ cup of cream cheese frosting between each layer, and then frost the rest of the cake with the remaining frosting.