How do you like your carrot cake? For the longest time, I was on a hunt for the perfect carrot cake. I tried several cakes that were good, but they just didn't measure up to my lofty expectations. Then I found this recipe and let me tell you, this baby measures up.
I haven't tried another recipe since I made this one for the first time almost five years ago. I make it at least once a year, sometimes more often than that. This carrot cake is moist and sweet and incredibly flavorful. Classic carrot cake often includes pecans in the frosting, so I've listed them below as optional. (I rarely include nuts in my cakes and frostings, so I usually skip them here.)
It shouldn't come as news to any of you that I am not a cake decorator. Not even a little bit. My sister and I baked this cake last time I was visiting her and while the word "rustic" covers a multitude of mistakes, it might be pushing it here. When you're spending time with your sister, laughing at your mistakes is way more fun than attempting to fix them.
As long as a cake is covered in frosting, I'm happy. I've tried to force myself care what a final cake looks like, but even for a pretty blog post, I'm just not that girl. My favorite cakes are baked in sheet pans or flipped out of a bundt pan. We doubled the recipe and make two cakes, a layered round cake and a bundt cake, to serve a ton of people. That said, I don't recommend doubling the recipe unless you want to have a LOT of cake leftover. (Not that I was complaining about the extra cake!)
The Best Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
recipe slightly adapted from The Pioneer Woman
Yield: 18-24 servings
2 cups sugar
1 cup light flavored olive oil
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups grated carrots
1/4 cup butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
4 1/3 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
Optional: 1 cup chopped pecans
Optional: 1/4 - 1/2 cup heavy cream, half and half or milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease your pan thoroughly with butter. (A sheet pan, a 9x13, a bundt pan or (2) 8" rounds will all work well.) Mix the sugar, oil and eggs until smooth. Whisk together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Slowly add to the wet and mix to combine. Add the carrots and mix again. Pour into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted comes out with moist crumbs. A sheet cake should be done in about 25 minutes, a bundt cake will take closer to 45 minutes. Cool the cake completely before frosting.
Beat the cream cheese and the butter together until well combined. Add the sugar and the vanilla and beat again until smooth. Stir in the pecans, if desired. When the cake is completely cool, frost as desired. If you prefer a glaze over a spreadable frosting, gradually add cream or milk while stirring constantly until the frosting is the desired consistency. Invert the bundt cake over a large plate and pour the glaze over the top. Enjoy!
Click here for printable recipe
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