The Best Classic Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Classic Carrot Cake Recipe

Classic Carrot Cake Recipe

Classic Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

A classic carrot cake recipe done right, this dessert is truly celebration-worthy. The crumb is lighter in texture than it looks (read: NOT gummy!), but still rich, moist, and chockfull of carrots, spices, raisins, and walnuts. A fluffy cream cheese frosting made with just a few ingredients ties it all together. This is a birthday staple in our home, and I soon hope in yours, too. 

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 50 minutes
Chill/Cooling Time: 8 hours
Makes: 1, 2-layer cake
Serves: 10 to 12

Carrot Cake
Butter, for pans
½ cup raisins
1 pound carrots, peeled
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground dried ginger
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
4 large eggs
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
½ cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup olive oil or neutral vegetable oil
¼ cup milk (oat, dairy, almond, soy, etc.)
¾ cup chopped walnuts

Cream Cheese Frosting
12 oz (1.5 pkgs) cream cheese, room temperature
¾ cup salted butter, room temperature
2 cups icing/powdered/confectioner’s sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Prepare 2 (8-inch) cake pans by greasing generously with butter on the bottom and sides, and fitting with a parchment circle covering the bottoms completely. Grease the parchment.
2. Soak raisins in recently boiled water for 15 minutes, and then drain. Grate carrots and then chop well into smaller pieces (or grate and then pulse briefly in the food processor).
3. In a large bowl, sift to combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs with both sugars to combine, followed by oil and milk. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and fold to partially incorporate. To this, mix in the carrots, soaked and drained raisins, and walnuts to create a uniform batter. Don’t over-mix.
4. Divide batter into prepared pans. Bake pans in the centre of the oven for 20 minutes; rotate pans and bake for a further 20 to 30 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.
5. Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edges and invert onto cooling racks. Remove parchment. Cool cakes completely before frosting.

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or in a bowl with electric beaters, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Scrape down sides, paddle, and bottom of bowl and beat again. Add icing sugar and vanilla, turn the mixer on low (to avoid a big mess), and beat to incorporate. Scrape down sides, paddle, and bottom of bowl and beat again, this time at medium speed for 1 to 2 minutes. Repeat scraping and beating until the mixture is whiter in colour and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes more.

1. Carefully transfer 1 of the cooled cakes to a large plate or cake stand. Top with one-third of the frosting. Gently place on second cake (do not press down) and frost tops and sides with remaining two-thirds of frosting. If the frosting feels too loose, chill for 30 minutes to firm up a touch. Decorate with smooth lines, swooshes, or whatever else you fancy.
2. Chill uncovered cake completely before serving, at least 6 hours. Store covered in the refrigerator for a few days. This cake also freezes well.

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