Best Carrot Cake
This classic moist carrot cake is topped with a luscious cream cheese frosting. Make the 3-layer cake or keep it simple and bake it in one layer.
- Serves: 16 persons
- For the cake:
- 2 ½cups flour
- 2teaspoons baking powder
- 1teaspoon baking soda
- ½teaspoon salt
- 2teaspoons cinnamon
- ¼teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼teaspoon ground allspice
- 1cup brown sugar
- 1cup granulated sugar
- 1cup vegetable oil (neutral flavor)
- ¾cup unsweetened applesauce
- 4large eggs
- 2teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3cups finely grated carrots
- Optional: 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
- For the frosting:
- 16ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- ½cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- Dash salt
- 4 ½cups powdered sugar
- 2teaspoons vanilla extract
- Optional: 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
Step 1Gather the ingredients. Position two rack in the upper and lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 F. Generously grease and line 3 (8-inch) round cake pans with parchment paper. Lightly grease the parchment paper.
Step 2In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice. Whisk to combine the dry ingredients. Set aside.
Step 3In a large bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar, vegetable oil, applesauce, eggs, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until well combined. (Alternatively you can use an electric hand mixer.)
Step 4Slowly add the dry mixture into the wet, beating until just combined.
Step 5Fold the carrots into the batter with the chopped pecans, if using, using a rubber spatula.
Step 6Divide the batter evenly among the prepared baking pans.
Step 7Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 22 to 26 minutes.
Step 8Let the cakes cool in the pans. Prepare the Frosting and Assemble the Cake
Step 9Gather the ingredients for the frosting.
Step 10In a large bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, butter, and salt until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes.
Step 11Sift the confectioners' sugar into the bowl with the cream cheese mixture and beat on low speed until blended, scraping down the bowl occasionally. Add the vanilla extract, then increase the speed of the mixer to medium-high, and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 more minutes.
Step 12To assemble the cake, carefully remove the cooled cakes from the pans. Peel off and discard the parchment. If desired, use a serrated knife to level the layers, using any scraps as snacks or to make cake pops .
Step 13Place the first layer on a turntable or cake plate, then cover the top with about 2/3 to 3/4 cup of frosting, spreading into a smooth, even layer.
Step 14Top with a second layer of cake, then cover with another 2/3 to 3/4 cup of frosting, spreading into an even layer. Top with the third layer of cake, and spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Swirl the frosting or smooth it as desired.
Step 15Sprinkle chopped toasted pecans over top of the cake, if desired, and serve.