Carrot cake was first created well over 100 years ago and continues to be a delicious treat for many people. This carrot cake recipe topped with cream cheese icing is made from scratch but easy enough for the whole family to make it then enjoy its delicious goodness!
Carrot cake is great comfort food and has been around for well over 100 years. Several food historians think that the first carrot cake was created by the Europeans during the Middle Ages from the carrot puddings they made and ate.
They began putting the pudding in loaf pans and baking it into a delicious loaf of sweetness similar to a quick bread. During this time period, sweeteners and sugar were very expensive to purchase to they used carrots in place of sugar. Carrots were also used as an agent of moisture in cakes too as the sugars and sweeteners were considered high-end foods and were rationed during both World War I and World War II.
Many people avoid making cakes from scratch yet they are fun to make and much more delicious than their boxed mix counterparts. This amazing carrot cake recipe is quick and easy enough to even get the kids involved in making not only this delectable carrot cake but the creamy, divine goodness that is cream cheese icing.
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Baking Time: 25-30 minutes
Cooling/Assembly: 1 1/2 hours
With a spicy sweetness, carrot cake is a favorite of many. This recipe for a classic, basic carrot cake combines the delicious flavors of cinnamon and cloves with a smooth cream cheese icing. Whether you need a cake for a grown-up birthday, a special dinner, or for a contribution to a potluck dinner, this carrot cake is sure to please.
One complaint of many people who attempt to bake cakes from scratch is that they often turn out a little dry. However, this recipe creates a perfectly moist carrot cake with generous bits of carrot sprinkled throughout each slice. While many cake recipes have instructions for how long to mix the batter with an electric mixer and exacting steps to perfect the texture, this recipe yields perfect results even without a mixer.
It is a quick and easy cake to throw together, even for novice bakers. In fact, if you have a young, inexperienced baker who yearns to craft a cake for family and friends, this recipe for carrot cake is a perfect first cake for kids because it will turn out perfectly every time.
Of course, grating carrots isn’t anyone’s idea of fun, but this cake is small enough that it doesn’t take that long to grate enough carrots for the recipe. You can use a box grater or even a food processor to chop the carrots finely. However, in some places, you may be able to find pre-grated carrots in the produce department so that you can skip grating carrots altogether.
This cake makes a perfect 8 inch round, two-layer cake. However, if you don’t have the pans for a layer cake, that’s not a problem. Simply bake the cake in a 13 by 9-inch rectangular pan and create a sheet cake!
No carrot cake is complete without a cream cheese frosting, and we have included a recipe for you. Homemade cream cheese frosting is not difficult to make but is best created with an electric mixer. However, if you don’t have the time or inclination to make frosting from scratch, you can top the cake with a can of store-bought frosting. You can include nuts to add a little extra crunch in this cake, but feel free to omit them if you’re dealing with nut allergies or simply don’t want to include them.
A. Carrot Cake Instructions
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup canola oil
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups grated carrots (3-4 medium-sized carrots)
- 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
Step 1: Turn on your oven and preheat it to 350 degrees. Spray your pans with cooking spray or grease them liberally with oil.
Lightly add a spoonful of flour in the pans and shake the pan to coat it completely with flour. You can use two eight-inch round pans or a 9 by 13 rectangular pan.
Step 2: In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice along with the sugar.
Whisk these dry ingredients until they are fully combined.
Step 3: In a smaller bowl, crack the eggs.
Beat them with a whisk until they are light and fluffy, then whisk in the canola oil. With a spatula, add the oil and eggs to the dry ingredients, mixing just until combined. Do not over mix.
Step 4: Gently, using the spatula, fold in the grated carrots and the nuts if you choose to include them.
Stir just until the carrots are fully integrated into the batter.
Step 5: Using a rubber spatula, scrape the batter into the prepared pans, dividing it evenly if you are using two round cake pans.
Bake the cake in the center of your preheated oven for 25-35 minutes.
Step 6: Allow the cake to cool in the pan, or if you are planning to make a layer cake, allow the cake to cool for 15 minutes before gently sliding a butter knife around the edges of the cake to help release it from the pan.
Remove the cakes to a wire rack to finish cooling before frosting it with cream cheese icing.
B. Cream Cheese Icing Instructions
- 1 eight-ounce package of cream cheese at room temperature
- 6 tablespoons softened butter
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts if desired for topping the cake
Step 1: In a medium-sized mixer bowl using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter together until they are light and creamy.
One cupful at a time beat in the powdered sugar. Add the vanilla extract and salt.
Step 2: Place the bottom later of the carrot cake on a cake plate and spread about a third of the frosting evenly on top of it.
Stack the top layer on the cake and spread another third of the frosting on the top of the cake. Using the remaining icing, neatly cover the sides of the cake with frosting. Top the cake with the chopped nuts.