Happy Carrot Cake Day!
When I was choosing what recipe to use as my first blog post, I knew carrot cake was the way to go.
This cake is amazing. It has two layers (or three, if you prefer) of airy carrot and cinnamon goodness, surrounded by rich, sweet cream cheese frosting. Ever since I found this recipe, it has been my go-to. It bakes perfectly into little muffin tins for carrot muffins, or if you top ’em with frosting, adorable carrot cake cupcakes.
Originally, I was pretty wary about cream cheese frosting. I have never been a huge fan of cream cheese, and often when I ate carrot cake out, I would scrape most of it off.
Not on this cake.
The frosting MAKES it. It’s the perfect contrast to the lightness of the cake, without being overpowering, and turns out a beautiful shade of off-white. Officially, I am a cream cheese frosting fan!
Without the piping, walnuts, and cinnamon on the cake, it was looking pretty plain. It would have worked well for a rustic or vintage themed party, but for my first post, I wanted to spice it up a bit! I piped he borders with a Wilton star tip – my favorite, as I’m sure you’ll come to see, and I broke walnuts up into thin pieces to garnish each edge. With a dusting of cinnamon, the cake was looking festive for Easter!
I love that you can see bits of fresh carrot in the slice! That’s when you know a cake is good.
Also, I couldn’t help but add these beautiful shots of lilacs I snapped while photographing the cake. Spring is my favorite season – everything is in bloom! These in particular smell absolutely heavenly. Their color is so vibrant and cheerful, too. They’ve inspired me to make some lilac-frosted cupcakes…
Anyway, enjoy the recipe – have a slice (or two, or three), and have a happy, happy Easter!
Cinnamon Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 35 mins
Yield: 2 nine-inch layers or 3 eight-inch layers
Carrot Cake Ingredients:
- 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons canola/vegetable oil
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 6 eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3 1/4 cups flour
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon (or more, if you’re a cinnamon lover like me!)
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 cups (about 1 lb) grated carrots (I blend mine for ten seconds or a food processor works, too)
Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:
- 1 brick of cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 stick of unsalted butter (1/2 cup), room temperature
- 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350*F. Butter and flour your pans (either 2 nine-inch or 3 eight-inch).
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine oil, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until combined. The mixture won’t be smooth, but the color should be an even, maple-syrup like shade. Add in the eggs one at a time (I like to crack them in a smaller bowl before putting them into the mixing bowl, to make sure no shells creep in), add the vanilla, and combine until the mixture is smooth.
- In another bowl, whisk together the remaining dry ingredients – flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, baking powder, nutmeg, and cloves. Once combined, add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl while beating on low speed. Increase to medium speed and beat until just combined.
- Add the fresh grated carrots to the mixing bowl and incorporate them for about ten seconds on low speed.
- In the prepared cake pans, pour the batter evenly between them, and bake until a toothpick comes out clean. It usually takes me 35 minutes. Take the pans out of the oven and let them cool to around room temperature before popping out the cakes.
- Once they’re out of the pans, use a cake leveler or large knife to get rid of the domed tops.
- Layer and frost the cakes with cream cheese frosting, and serve (or keep covered for up to four days)!
- While the cake is baking, take your electric mixer and cream together the cream cheese and butter (room temperature is very important here!) on medium speed until light and whipped up nicely (about a minute).
- Add the vanilla and salt in the bowl and keep mixing. Turn the mixer to medium-low speed and add the powdered sugar in about three sections. Once combined, turn the mixer back up to medium-high and beat until it’s light and fluffy, or your desired consistency.
- You can always add a bit of milk or more powdered sugar to make the frosting thinner or thicker, respectively. Frost away!