This simple carrot cake is perfect for any occasion and hands down the best recipe I have ever tried. It’s a moist carrot cake with just the right amount of sugar and can be made as a 6 or 9 inch cake.
I needed to make a simple carrot cake over the weekend and had very little time to mess around with a recipe. So I went straight to what I think is a pretty reliable source for some good basic recipes- King Arthur Flour.
I was right. This carrot cake with cream cheese frosting turned out fabulous and I highly recommend it for any occasion.
The cake itself is flavorful and not overly sweet. The cream cheese frosting adds just the right amount of sweetness to a carrot cake. The cake held its moisture even though I made it two nights before and stored it in the refrigerator. This is one moist carrot cake that does not disappoint!
The original recipe makes a 9 inch double layer cake. I always make 8 or 9 inch cakes, but more often than not it ends up being too much cake for our small family. So I cut the recipe in half hoping it would work in my 6 inch round pans. It worked flawlessly.
Don’t be afraid to cut recipes in half. I find that it works out just fine most of the time. For other great 6 inch cake recipes you may also want to check out my recipe for the best chocolate cake and this cookies and cream cake.
How to Grate Carrots for Carrot Cake
To prepare carrots for this carrot cake, first wash and peel the carrots. If you have a box grater, use the side with the smallest holes. Alternatively, you can grate carrots with a food processor.
Use a regular blade, not a shred blade. Chop your carrots into 2-3 inch pieces. Pulse them until you get finely grated carrots. Pulsing lets you control the food processor better. You don’t want to end up with carrot puree.
How to Pipe Roses with Frosting
Besides the size change working out, I was thrilled with the way my frosting turned out. Piping roses is definitely not a new technique, but I had never tried it.
I used my Ateco Star tip in Size 4, started piping from the center of the flower and swirled outward. That’s it! I was worried the cream cheese frosting was not going to hold the shape, but it worked pretty well with this recipe.
It’s not as stiff as buttercream so if it warms up too much, it may lose shape. This will just depend on your situation.
Do You Need to Put Carrot Cake in the Refrigerator?
Yes. Cakes with cream cheese frosting should always be refrigerated but that does not mean you should serve it cold. Remove it from the fridge about 1-2 hours before serving so it can come to room temperature.
For the cake
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups finely grated carrots
- 3/4 cups chopped walnuts
For the frosting
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
- milk to adjust consistency if needed
For the cake
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and line the bottom of two 6 inch pans with parchment paper.
- Beat the oil, sugar, eggs, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt on low speed for 3 minutes. Mix the flour with the baking soda and stir into the liquid mixture until incorporated. Add the carrots and nuts and mix until just combined. Divide evenly between pans.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool the cakes for a few minutes in the pan and then cool completely outside the pans.
For the frosting
- Beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Add the salt and vanilla.
- Beat in the sugar starting with 2 1/2 cups first and adding more if needed. Add a teaspoon of milk if you need looser frosting or add sugar if you need it stiff.
This recipe is taken right from King Arthur Flour. I only cut the amounts in half to make my 6 inch cake.
When grating carrots, use the finest holes on your grater.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 899 Total Fat: 41g Saturated Fat: 13g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 26g Cholesterol: 86mg Sodium: 398mg Carbohydrates: 131g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 116g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 6g