The best and Perfect Every Time: Our Foolproof Carrot Cake Recipe

carrot cake recipe
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Our Foolproof Carrot Cake Recipe

Introduction

Imagine this: you take a bite of carrot cake, and a wave of warm spices washes over your palate. The cake itself is impossibly moist, studded with tender carrots and crunchy nuts. Then comes the frosting – a decadent layer of cream cheese frosting that perfectly complements the cake’s sweetness.

Carrot cake is a universal crowd-pleaser. But let’s be honest, sometimes the prospect of baking a carrot cake can feel a little daunting. Multiple components, the potential for dryness – it can be stressful! Worry not, because today we’re sharing our foolproof carrot cake recipe, a method that guarantees a moist, delicious cake every single time. This recipe is straightforward and easy to follow, and with a few helpful tips, you’ll be a carrot cake pro in no time!

This post will walk you through everything you need to know. We’ll provide the recipe itself, along with expert baking tips and some creative variations to inspire you.

Why We Love Carrot Cake

Carrot cake has a surprisingly long history, dating back to the Middle Ages! Originally, carrots were used as a natural sweetener in cakes, and over time, the recipe evolved into the spiced treat we know and love today.

The magic of carrot cake lies in its perfect harmony of flavors and textures. The warm spices like cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg create a cozy feeling, while the shredded carrots add a delightful sweetness and moistness to the crumb. The contrasting textures – the soft cake against the crunchy nuts – add another layer of enjoyment. And of course, no carrot cake is complete without its signature frosting. A rich and creamy cream cheese frosting takes this cake to the next level of deliciousness.

The Foolproof Carrot Cake Recipe

Spiced Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

This recipe yields a beautiful two-layer cake, perfect for sharing with friends and family.

Ingredients:

  • For the Cake:
    • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour (spoon and leveled)
    • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
    • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
    • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 1 ¾ cups granulated sugar
    • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
    • ½ cup vegetable oil
    • 4 large eggs
    • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
    • 3 cups grated carrots (about 4 large carrots)
    • 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
  • For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
    • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
    • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
    • 3 cups powdered sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • Pinch of salt

Equipment:

  • Mixing bowls (large and medium)
  • Electric mixer (handheld or stand mixer)
  • Whisk
  • Spatula
  • Grater (box grater or food processor attachment)
  • Two 8-inch round cake pans
  • Parchment paper
  • Cooling rack

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease and flour your cake pans, or line them with parchment paper for easy removal.
  2. Whisk together the dry ingredients: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Cream the sugars and oil: In a separate medium bowl, cream together the granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vegetable oil until light and fluffy.
  4. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla extract.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients alternately with the applesauce, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined, taking care not to overmix.
  6. Fold in the grated carrots and nuts (if using).
  7. Divide the batter evenly between your prepared cake pans.
  8. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  9. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  1. In a large bowl, cream together the softened cream cheese and butter until smooth.
  2. Gradually add the powdered sugar, beating until light and fluffy.
  3. Stir in the vanilla extract and salt.
  4. Once the cakes are cool, frost the top of one layer and place the second layer on top. Frost the entire cake, including the sides.

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