Carrot cake and cream cheese frosting recipe
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- Dish type
- Vegetable cakes
- Carrot cake
This is a lovely moist carrot cake and I think it's just as nice with or without the cream cheese frosting. I have been baking this recipe for some years now and it has always proven to be a winner.
West Midlands, England, UK
27 people made this
- For the frosting
- 325ml (11oz) double cream
- 100g butter, softened
- 230g full fat cream cheese, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 200g icing sugar, sifted
- For the cake
- 260g self-raising flour
- 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 4 eggs
- 300g caster sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 240ml sunflower or vegetable oil
- 340g carrots, peeled and grated
- 100g chopped nuts (optional)
MethodPrep:30min ›Cook:30min ›Extra time:1hr › Ready in:2hr
- Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas 4. Place rack in centre of oven. Lightly grease two deep 23cm square tins and line the bottoms of the tins with baking parchment.
- In a bowl, whisk the double cream till soft peaks are formed.
- Cream together the butter, cream cheese and vanilla till smooth. Gradually add the icing sugar until well incorporated.
- Finally add the whipped double cream and beat until soft and well mixed together. Place in fridge to chill.
- In a bowl mix together the flour, bicarb, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
- In a large bowl beat the eggs and caster sugar until the mixture is thick and pale in colour. Beat in the 2 teaspoons vanilla extract then pour the oil in a continuous steady stream and beat until very thick and creamy. Add the flour mixture and beat until well incorporated then gently mix in the grated carrot. Evenly divide the mixture between the two prepared tins (I weigh mine to ensure each cake is even).
- Bake each tin in the centre of the oven, 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and leave to cool on a wire rack. After about 5 to 10 minutes turn out the cakes onto the wire rack, remove the tins and parchment, and completely cool before frosting.
- Once completely cool, cover the cakes with a thin layer of frosting and put in the fridge until firm to the touch.
- Once first layer of frosting is firm remove from fridge and cover cakes with another thick layer of frosting. Decorate with chopped nuts, if liked.
For the frosting:
For the cake:
Make cream cheese frosting and chill in fridge before baking cake I find its far easier to spread. If a stiffer frosting is desired just add more icing sugar.
Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(7)
Reviews in English (7)
Absolutely fantastic everyone loves it I make all the time thankyou-27 Jul 2014
Lovely cake, the whole family enjoyed.-02 Jul 2013
Moist Carrot Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting
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The best, classic, spiced soft, moist, quick and easy carrot cake recipe, homemade from scratch with simple ingredients. Covered in cream cheese frosting!
After countless trial and errors, I have the perfect Easter cake to share with all of you. It’s packed with wonderful spices like nutmeg and cinnamon.
I am not too fond of cloves and omit that but if you like that, feel free to add some in this recipe.
This SIMPLE carrot cake recipe is made with BASIC ingredients that I bet you already have in your kitchen pantry.
People have strong feelings about the use of pineapples and nuts in this cake.
Some people love them and some hate them.
Based on my research, carrot cake with pineapple and nuts, especially walnuts is the CLASSIC version.
I know this cake is usually considered to be an Easter cake or Easter dessert but honestly, it can be enjoyed throughout the year at birthday parties, anniversaries, weddings and other celebrations.
I combined 3 family recipes to come up with this TRADITIONAL carrot cake with cream cheese frosting recipe.
It even got the seal of approval from my Mom and Grandma, who are both excellent bakers.
Tell Me About This Pineapple Carrot Cake
- Flavor: This cake has all the spiced flavors you’d expect from a classic carrot cake , but with a flavorful addition: crushed pineapple. This simple addition brightens up the cake’s flavor and reminds us of another reader favorite– hummingbird cake . While wonderful on its own, the sweet and tangy cream cheese frosting pairs beautifully with the cake’s warm spice flavor.
- Texture: This is a moist cake finished with a dense and silky blanket of cream cheese frosting.
- Ease: Baking this pineapple carrot cake as a sheet cake in a 9 × 13 inch pan makes it even more effortless. Just one layer of cake and one layer of frosting. Easy to frost, easier to cut, easiest to eat.
- Time: The batter comes together quickly, but the baked cake needs a considerable amount of cooling time before it’s frosted. If desired, you could place it in the refrigerator after about 45 minutes to speed things up.
The Perfect Carrot Cake
This carrot cake is dense, rich, and moist. It has a distinctive natural orange color. The smooth cream cheese frosting is optionally topped with crunchy chopped pecans and decorated with cute, small peeled carrots. I got those pretty little carrots from my local farmers market.
Ingredients for Homemade Classic Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Carrot Cake Batter
- Canola cooking spray
- 4 large eggs, beaten
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, or the same amount of cake flour
- 2 cups granulated white sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger *optional
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3 cups very finely shredded carrots, lightly packed *the carrots must be peeled and ends cup
- 3/4 cup Canola oil
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 8 ounce plain cream cheese
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 6 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
In previous cake recipes, I have suggested using cake strips but not for this recipe, it does not need it. During recipe testing one of the batches I used the cake strips and the layers came out concave. Since this cake is more like a quick bread and it has the grated carrot in it, the layers rise more flat anyway.
Below is a list of kitchen tools for this carrot cake recipe.
Tips for Success for Making Homemade Classic Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
There are some key tips for recipe success this carrot cake:
- Carrots – The carrots must be washed, ends cut and completely peeled. Carrot skins are bitter and since this is a sweet recipe, we do not want to throw the whole recipe off. I suggest using a box grater to shred the carrots. Usually, I love using a food processor to shred carrots for recipes but in this case, you need a fine shred to keep the cake from easily being crumbly when assembling and frosting.
- Cream Cheese Frosting – Make sure to use only confectioner’s sugar and not granulated white sugar or any other type of sugar. This ensures that the frosting is smooth and not gritty, crunchy or granular.
- Assembling the Cake – This cake can be frosted all at one or for a more finished look, you can apply the frosting in 2 stages and make sure the frosting is at room temperature before applying any frosting. Make sure to refrigerate (at least 1/2 hour) the cake after the first layer of frosting is applied, so that it can set up and then apply the rest of the frosting. Refrigerate the cake when you are done applying all the frosting for at least a 1/2 hour so that you get perfect slices when cutting the cake. If you can, use an airtight cake carrier so the frosting does not dry out in the refrigerator.
- Baking Soda and Baking Powder – make sure you have fresh baking soda and baking powder in this recipes to ensure perfectly risen cake layers.
If you make this Homemade Classic Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting recipe and you like it, please let us know in the comments below, thank you for reading and following along!
While we’re on the topic of carrot cake, we can’t forget to mention this beautiful Carrot Cake Trifle recipe. Another great option for Easter or spring gatherings. Think carrot cake… in trifle form!
If you’re looking for more Easter dessert recipes, be sure to check out the ones below!
Carrot Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray a 9-by-13-inch metal baking pan with vegetable spray. Line the pan with parchment paper and spray the paper.
On a rimmed baking sheet, toast the walnuts for about 7 minutes, until lightly browned and fragrant. Remove from the oven, add the butter and toss to coat the walnuts.
In a medium bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and ginger whisk to blend. In another bowl, whisk the eggs with the oil, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla until smooth. Stir in the dry ingredients just incorporated, then stir in the carrots and walnuts. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
Transfer the cake to a rack and let cool for 15 minutes. With a paring knife, loosen the cake from the side of the pan. Invert the cake onto the rack and gently peel off the parchment paper. Let cool completely, at least 2 hours.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the cream cheese with the butter at medium speed until blended, about 30 seconds. Beat in the confectioners' sugar in two batches, mixing thoroughly between additions, about 1 minute. Beat in the vanilla.
Transfer the cake to a platter and spread the frosting over the top and sides. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
Carrot Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting
A cake that is moist, sweet and a bit tangy. Garnish the top with finely chopped walnuts for a perfect presentation.
nonstick cooking spray
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons
unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup walnuts, toasted
½ pound carrots
(3 to 4 medium), peeled
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed, light or dark brown sugar
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 ounces cream cheese (1 standard package), room temperature, cut into 8 pieces
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 8 pieces
2 ounces goat cheese, room temperature (sour cream or plain yogurt can be substituted)
2&frasl3 cup confectioners&rsquo sugar
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Nutritional information per serving
Calories 495 (62% from fat) &bull carb. 41g &bull pro. 7g &bull fat 35g
1. Preheat oven to 350°F with the rack in the middle position. Coat a 9-inch round baking pan with nonstick cooking spray set aside.
2. Insert the chopping blade into the work bowl of the food processor. Add the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Process on Low for 10 seconds. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
3. Put the walnuts into the work bowl and pulse 2 to 3 times to coarsely chop. Leaving the nuts in the bowl, remove the chopping blade and replace with the medium shredding disc. Shred the carrots on High. Add the nuts and carrots to the bowl with the dry ingredients.
4. Remove the shredding disc and replace with the chopping blade. Add the sugars to the work bowl. In a large measuring cup combine the oil, eggs and vanilla. While the unit is running on Low, gradually add the wet ingredi- ents through the feed tube. Process until well mixed, about 30 to 45 seconds, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the wet ingredients to the bowl of dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
- 2 cups shredded carrots (about 4 large carrots)
- ⅔ cup packed light brown sugar
- ¼ cup honey
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup refrigerated bottled carrot juice
- ¼ cup canola oil
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted, divided
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
Prepare the Cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides. Toss together carrots, brown sugar, honey, and salt in a large bowl let stand 10 minutes. Add carrot juice, oil, and vanilla. Crack egg into bowl. Pierce egg using tip of a whisk, and lightly beat into carrot juice mixture. Whisk in cinnamon and baking soda. Fold in flour and ½ cup walnuts.
Spread batter evenly in prepared baking pan. Bake in preheated oven until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 35 to 38 minutes. Remove from oven cool in pan 5 minutes. Using parchment paper overhang, lift Cake from pan and transfer to a wire rack. Cool completely, 30 minutes.
Prepare the Frosting: Wash and dry the bowl. Add cream cheese and butter beat with an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Beat in vanilla and salt. Add powdered sugar beat on low speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Spread Frosting over cooled Cake. Sprinkle with remaining ½ cup walnuts.
Spiced Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Prepare Cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray two 9-inch round cake pans with baking spray line with parchment and set aside.
Combine flour, soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and salt in medium bowl. Place eggs, granulated sugar, oil, buttermilk and vanilla in large bowl mix with an electric mixer on low until blended.
With mixer running, add flour mixture and then carrots. Mix until blended. Pour batter evenly into pans.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until cakes test done. Cool cakes 5 minutes. Remove from pans cool completely on wire racks.
Prepare Frosting: Place cream cheese and butter in medium bowl beat with an electric mixer on medium speed 1 to 2 minutes or until creamy. Gradually add confectioners' sugar and vanilla blend until smooth.
Assemble cake by placing one layer onto plate. Spread with some of the frosting top with second layer. Frost top and sides with remaining frosting. Garnish with walnuts, if desired.
To reduce the fat in the frosting, use 1/3 less fat cream cheese (Neufchatel) in place of the regular cream cheese.
Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Yield Makes 1 (8- or 9-inch) layer cake serves 12 to 18
- Calories 338
- Fat 20.9 g (32.2%)
- Saturated 15.8 g (79.0%)
- Carbs 36.1 g (12.0%)
- Fiber 1.1 g (4.2%)
- Sugars 23.6 g
- Protein 3.6 g (7.1%)
- Sodium 170.9 mg (7.1%)
For the cake:
sunflower or melted coconut oil, plus more for coating the pans
medium carrots, finely grated (about 4 cups grated)
finely chopped toasted walnuts (optional)
raisins (optional, soak in hot water for 20 minutes, then drain)
For the cream cheese frosting:
cream cheese, at room temperature
(1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
For decorating (optional):
Make the cake:
Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350°F. Coat 2 (8- or 9-inch) round cake pans with oil, then line the bottom of each with a parchment paper round set aside.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl set aside.
Whisk the eggs, granulated sugar, and brown sugar together in a large bowl until combined. While whisking, slowly add in the oil, then whisk until combined.
Add the carrots and stir with a rubber spatula to combine. Add the flour mixture and fold to combine do not overmix. Mix in the walnuts and raisins, if using.
Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans. Bake until the top bounces back when you gently press it, or a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake, 45 to 55 minutes.
Place the pans on a wire rack and let sit until cool enough to handle, about 20 minutes. Run a thin knife around the edges of the cake to loosen, flip the cakes out, remove the parchment paper, and then place right-side up back on the rack to cool completely before filling and frosting.
Make the cream cheese frosting:
Place the cream cheese in the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (Alternatively, use an electric hand mixer.) Beat on medium speed until completely smooth, about 3 minutes. Beat in the butter until completely smooth.
Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Sift in the powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla and salt.
Assemble and decorate the cake:
If the cakes are not level, use a serrated knife to trim the tops. Cut each cake in half horizontally so that you now have 4 layers.
Place 1 of the cake layers on a cake or serving plate. Spread about 1/3 cup of frosting on the top of the cake. Top with a second cake layer and repeat with spreading the frosting. Top with a third cake layer and repeat with spreading the frosting. Top with the fourth and final cake layer.
Frost the top and sides of the cake with the cake with a thin layer of frosting as a crumb coat. Refrigerate for 20 to 25 minutes to let the frosting set.
Transfer the remaining cream cheese frosting into a piping bag with a 1/2-inch round tip (or snip 1/2 to 1 inch from the bottom corner of the bag to create a round opening). Pipe a vertical line of frosting dots down the side of the cake. Use a clean spoon to smear each dot to the side, tapering off the edge. Clean off your spoon. Pipe a new column of dots immediately next to the previous column and smear with the spoon. Repeat this process until the whole outside of the cake is scalloped. (Watch this technique in the video above.) Decorate with fresh flowers if using.
Make ahead: The cake layers can be baked ahead. Do not level or split the cakes. Wrap each one tightly in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for 1 day, or in the freezer for up to 1 week. Defrost before using.
Storage: The assembled cake can be covered in plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Credits: Emily Petrick is a West Coast-based baker and food stylist. She is a Cordon Bleu graduate and worked at several prestigious Los Angeles bakeries before starting her own business. She is happiest when she is experimenting and making a mess in her kitchen. You can see more of her work on her website.
The best carrot cake with cream cheese frosting
Nothing screams “SPRING” like Carrot Cake! This one is simple to make, super moist and flavorful, and is finished off with the CREAMIEST cream cheese frosting! I’m also sharing all my tips and tricks for frosting a naked cake in this post – it’s so easy, so never fear if you’ve never decorated a cake before! I’ve got you covered. ❤️
Just call me Peter Rabbit because I have been eating and LOVING carrot cake all week long! This cake required a few rounds of testing to get it just right but I am so pleased with the results! The cake layers are thick and moist, the frosting is creamy and sweet – but not overly so, and the whole thing is so flavorful and delicious!
I frosted this cake in the “naked” style – I LOVE naked cakes! They scream fancy and beautiful but they’re actually one of the simplest ways to decorate a cake! Even if you have little to no cake decorating experience or skill, I’m confident that you can produce a lovely naked-frosted cake. I’ll tell you exactly how I do it!
How to Frost a Naked Cake:
Here’s how I do it. Start by laying one cake layer down on your cake stand, using strips of wax paper to protect the cake stand from getting messy. (Simply pull them away when you’re finished!) Frost a layer, making sure to spread the frosting over the edges of the cake a bit. Repeat with the next two layers! (I like to divide my frosting into 3 equal portions, giving slightly more to the portion that will cover the top and sides of the cake, with a food scale to make sure I don’t run out, but you can eyeball it too!).
Once you have frosting on the top of the 3rd layer, use the remaining frosting to dot the sides of the cake, in random places. Use a cake smoother (I love this one – best two dollars I’ve spent on a kitchen tool!) to smooth the frosting blobs – hold it against the side of the cake, and slowly turn the cake while pulling the scraper towards you. You’re essentially making a cleaner version of a crumb coat! Add more frosting in any places you feel need it. Use the back of a spoon to create swirls on the top – we’re going for artsy here, not perfect!
Another tool that makes frosting a breeze is an offset spatula! A regular silicone spatula works too, but an offset one speeds things up and I find it an incredibly worthwhile tool to have!
Sprinkle some chopped walnuts around the base of the cake for some simple decor – and that’s your naked cake!
Oh, I suppose we should talk about the rest of the cake as well!
How to Make the Cake:
We’re combining wet ingredients in a large mixing bowl and then alternating mixing in the dry ingredients and milk in thirds. Chopped walnuts and grated carrots get added last, and that’s pretty much it! No softening of butter is even required for this cake! (Well, it is for the frosting if you want to get technical!) Divide your batter between 3 greased + floured pans (the BEST way to prevent cakes from sticking!) and bake them!
The elements of this cake, or the whole cake, can be made in advance! That makes life a little easier, especially when you’re entertaining. The cake layers can be made, cooled, and kept at room temp (wrapped up) for 1 day. Any longer, I’d store them in the fridge. The frosting can be made and kept in the fridge for up to 3 days.
That’s all for now folks! I hope the weather is more springy near you – we had a full on snow storm in Wisconsin yesterday! But, it’s already melting and warm weather is on the horizon. In the meantime, I’ll be curled up inside continuing to eat up the last of this carrot cake. Happy Baking and Hop to It! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist!)
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