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Carrot Cake on a cake stand
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4.63 from 16 votes

Southern Style Carrot Cake Recipe

The BEST Carrot Cake ever! It's loaded with cinnamon, warm spices and topped with a delicious homemade cream cheese frosting. It's the perfect dessert for the holidays or any special occasion!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12
Calories: 713kcal
Author: Amy Duska

Ingredients

Carrot Cake

    Dry ingredients:

    • 2.5 cups all-purpose flour plus extra for flouring the cake pans and tossing the raisins
    • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon ground ginger optional
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg optional
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder

    Wet ingredients:

    • 1 cup vegetable oil
    • 1 cup light brown sugar
    • 1/2 cups granulated sugar
    • 4 eggs
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Other ingredients:

    • 3 cups grated carrots
    • 1/2 cup raisins toss with flour to prevent them from sinking in batter
    • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

    Cream Cheese Frosting

    • 2 sticks unsalted butter room temperature
    • 16 oz. cream cheese room temperature
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 2 cups powdered sugar

    Garnish

    • 1-2 cups chopped pecans to press on the side of the cake
    • 4 whole carrots
    • cilantro leaves or any other herb to use as carrot leaves

    Instructions

    Carrot Cake Batter

    • Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two 9" cake pans with oil and cover the bottom of the pans with parchment paper (optional). Add a handful of flour to the pans and rotate the pans to coat with flour to prevent sticking. Shake out excess flour.
    • Dry Ingredients: In a small mixing bowl, whisk together 2.5 cups flour, 4 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1 teaspoon ginger, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon baking powder and set aside.
    • Wet Ingredients: In a medium sized batter bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the 4 eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 cup light brown sugar, 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1 cup vegetable oil on high speed for 2 minutes.
    • Combine: Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir them together using a spatula until combined. Stir in the 3 cups of carrots, 1/2 cup of raisins and 1/2 cup of chopped pecans.
    • Bake: Pour the batter evenly into the cake pans and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
    • Cool: Remove from oven, let cool for 20 minutes before transferring the cakes to a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.

    Cream Cheese Frosting

    • In a large mixing bowl, beat the room temperature butter, cream cheese and vanilla extract using an electric mixer until smooth. Add the powdered sugar 1/3 at a time and beat until the ingredients are fully incorporated.

    Assembly

    • Place the first layer on a cake stand and cover with cream cheese frosting. Stack the second layer on top and spread the top and outsides of the cake with frosting. Use your hand to press the additional 2 cups of toasted pecan pieces to the outside of the cake.
    • Right before you are ready to serve, cut the ends off the whole carrots and then cut the carrot in half lengthwise. Place them on top of the cake with the pointed ends facing the center. Use a the cilantro leave as the carrot tops. (See notes.)

    Notes

    • Store covered in the fridge for up to4 days.
    • If you are using the fresh carrots to decorate the cake, place them on the cake right before you are ready to serve. If they are left on overnight, the moisture from the carrots will seep out and cause the frosting to become "wet" around the edges of the carrots.
    • For a 3 layer cake use three 8 inch cake pans and bake for 25-30 minutes.
    • This recipe makes 18-24 cupcakes. Use cupcake liners and bake for 25 minutes.
    • Vegetable oil can be substituted with 1 cup melted coconut oil or 2 sticks melted unsalted butter.
    • A toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, the sides are pulling away from the cake pan or the cake springs back when pushed down in the middle.
    • Parchment paper is not necessary but helpful in ensuring the cake does not stick to the pans when removing. Run a knife around the cake to help release the sides before trying to remove it.
    • Carrot Cake can be frozen for up to 3 months. Wrap the slices individually in 2 layers of plastic wrap and a layer of aluminum foil.

    Nutrition

    Serving: 1slice | Calories: 713kcal | Carbohydrates: 78g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 43g | Saturated Fat: 24g | Cholesterol: 96mg | Sodium: 459mg | Potassium: 366mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 49g | Vitamin A: 5938IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 107mg | Iron: 2mg