The best carrot cake recipe that is easy, moist and tender!
Ben's birthday was last week and carrot cake is his favorite. I had never made a carrot cake, not even for him, so I figured this was the year to do it. There are so many delicious looking recipes out there for carrot cake, but I finally settled on this one as it declared to be the best. (Of course, they all claim to be the best, so really it was more of closing my eyes, pointing, and settling with the recipe where my finger landed.)
In all honesty, I chose this recipe because based on the ingredients and process, it seemed like it would have a great moist turnout. Plus, the other close contender called for a vast amount of olive oil, and quite frankly, it scared me a little. I'm sure it's great, but I just didn't want to chance it.
If making carrot cake intimidates you at all, don't let it! You won't believe how easy it is! Seriously, the most tasking part was grating the carrots. Even that wasn't so bad, and if you have a food processor, even better!
I didn't follow the instructions for buttering and flouring the cake pans. Instead, I used my Wilton Cake Release and lined the bottom with parchment paper. The middle sunk a little, so next time I'm going to try the butter/flour method. Even so, it still looked great, tasted wonderful and received many accolades. It has just the right blend of spices and the ingredients that you think would be too chunky, were not at all! BG agrees I need to keep this as my go-to carrot cake recipe. No need to try any others, when I think we have found perfection!
For the cake:
- 2 cups grated carrots (about 3 large peeled carrots)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 ½ cups canola oil
- 4 large eggs
- 8 oz. can crushed pineapple , drained
- 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
- ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans (more for decorating sides, if desired)
For the cream cheese frosting:
- 8 oz. cream cheese , at room temperature
- ½ cup unsalted butter , at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 to 4 cups powdered sugar , sifted
- Adjust oven rack in middle of oven and preheat to 350˚F. Grease bottom and sides of two 9-inch cake pans (I use Baker's Joy) or butter and flour them.
- Shred enough carrots on smallest teardrop holes of box grater or with fine shredding disk in a food processor to measure 2 cups.
- Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon into a large bowl. Stir in sugar, oil, eggs, carrots, pineapple, coconut, and walnuts.
- Evenly divide batter between cake pans and bake until a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center of cakes comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes. Cool in pans on a rack for 5 minutes, then run a thin plastic knife around edge of each pan and invert layers onto rack to cool completely.
For the cream cheese frosting:
- In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Turn the speed to low and stir in 3 cups of the sugar and vanilla. Continue to mix until reaches a smooth spreadable consistency. Add more sugar as needed. (If frosting is too thick, add a tablespoon of milk until reaches desired consistency.)
- Once cakes are completely cooled, place one cake layer bottom side up on a cake plate and spread with a layer of frosting. Top with remaining cake layer right side up and spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Decorate as desired.
- Nutrition information is an estimate only based on frosted cake without decorations.