Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. Carrot cake is a cake which contains carrots mixed into the batter. The carrot softens in the cooking process, and the cake usually has a soft, dense texture.
Carrot cake closely resembles a quick bread in method of preparation (all the wet ingredients, such as the eggs and sugar, are mixed, all the dry ingredients are mixed, and the wet are then added to the dry) and final consistency (which is usually denser than a traditional cake and has a coarser crumb).
Many carrot cake recipes include optional ingredients, such as nuts or raisins. The most common icing on carrot cake is a cream cheese icing (icing sugar, butter and cream cheese).
Yields 12-14 servings
For the cake:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups packed light brown sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 4 large eggs
- 2 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups canola oil
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 2 3/4 cups peeled, shredded carrots
- 1 cup raisins (soaked in warm water for one hour)
- 2 cups chopped pecans, separated
For the frosting:
- 2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line three 8-inch pans with parchment paper, and grease bottom and sides of pans with baking spray; set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, both sugars, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk together to blend, breaking up any large lumps of brown sugar with your hand. In another large mixing bowl, combine eggs, vanilla, oil, and buttermilk. Whisk until well combined. Add the wet ingredients to the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir just until incorporated. Add in carrots, 1 cup of pecans, and raisins. Fold gently into batter with a spatula until incorporated.
- Divide batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until cakes are golden brown and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. I recommend rotating cakes halfway through baking. Transfer to wire racks and cool 5-10 minutes in the pans, then turn out cakes directly onto wire racks and cool completely.
- For the frosting, beat cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer until smooth. Add maple syrup and vanilla, beat until combined. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar and continue beating until well combined and smooth.
- To assemble the cake, level layers (if necessary) using a serrated knife. Place one layer on a cake stand or cardboard cake round. Spread a layer of cream cheese frosting over the top. Place another cake layer on top and repeat frosting. Place the final cake layer on top. Frost the top and sides of cake with remaining frosting, reserving up to 1 cup for detailing if needed. Press remaining cup of pecans along the sides of cake.