On the surface, a vegetable – based cake sounds very unappetising. But carrot cakes are certainly an exception to the rule. This delicacy is among the most popular cakes out there alongside the likes of chocolate and red velvet cake. Just like any other popular food, there are tons of different carrot cake recipes online. Today we will be showing you exactly how you can make the perfect carrot cake at home.
What Is A Carrot Cake?
In order to make a great carrot cake, you should first understand what it is.
Carrot cake, as the name suggests, has carrot as its star ingredient. It also contains other things that go extremely well with carrots including spices, cream cheese, and nuts.
The origin of carrot cake cannot be definitively pointed out but experts theorise that it originated in the UK or somewhere else in Europe. Today, it is most famous in America and Canada and is often served beside espressos in coffee shops.
Carrot cake is also considered by many as a “healthier” option than other cakes since it contains a vegetable and uses flavourless oil rather than cooking oil.
What Does It Taste Like?
A good carrot cake is always moist and light. Its sweetness mainly comes from the carrot itself as well as the brown sugar, with the ginger and other spices complimenting it.
This recipe in particular uses pecan nuts which we feel is the best nut to help elevate the sweetness and earthiness of carrots. On top of that, we also have a delicious cream cheese frosting which blends into the layers and creates a velvety texture.
Ingredients You Will Need
Carrot cake ingredients:
- 2 cups of freshly grated carrots
- 2 cups of chopped pecans
- 2 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cups of brown sugar (light or dark are both okay)
- ¾ cup of unsweetened applesauce
- ½ cup of granulated sugar
- 4 large chicken eggs
- 1 cup of flavourless oil (vegetable, canola, coconut, etc)
- 2 tsp of baking powder
- 1 ½ tsp of ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp of vanilla extract
- 1 tsp of baking soda
- ½ tsp of salt
- ¼ tsp of ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp of ground ginger
- ¼ tsp of ground cloves
Cream cheese frosting ingredients:
- 4 cups of confectioner’s sugar
- ½ cup of room temperature unsalted butter
- 450 grams of room temperature block cream cheese
- 1 ½ tsp of vanilla extract
- A little bit of salt
Steps To Make A Delicious Carrot Cake
Steps for making an amazing carrot cake:
- Start by preheating the oven to 300 F or 149 C
- Line your baking sheet with parchment paper
- Chop up your pecan nuts and place them on the baking sheet, before toasting them in the oven for 7 minutes
- Take out the nuts and let it cool for 10 minutes
- Increase your oven heat to 350 F or 177 C
- Line 3 baking pans with parchment paper and grease them
- Add brown sugar, oil, eggs, applesauce, vanilla, and granulated sugar into a large bowl and mix them till smooth
- Find another large bowl and add your baking powder, salt, baking soda, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, flours, and cinnamon and again whisk
- Pour the first mixture (the wet ingredients) into the second mixture and fold them together using a wooden spoon
- Add your carrots and 1 cup of the pecans before folding them with the mixture too
- Pour this mixture into your baking pans (make sure they are all of equal amounts)
- Bake the pans for 20 to 24 minutes. You can also use 2 pans instead of 3; if you decide to do so bake each pan for 30 to 35 minutes
- Use a toothpick to poke a hole into the cake; if it easily comes out then it is done, if it does not then it is still underbaked and needs more time in the oven
- Let the cakes cool down on a cooling rack after finish baking (you should only assemble and frost the cake after it has cooled down)
- Start making your frosting by pouring the cream cheese and butter into a large bowl
- Whisk this mixture using a standing or handheld mixer for around 2 minutes on medium-high speed (the final mixture should be very smooth)
- Add your salt, sugar, and vanilla extract to the mixture
- Whisk it again on low speed for 30 seconds, before then whisking for another 3 minutes on high speed
- Add milk if the frosting is too thick, add sugar if it is too thin, and add a little bit of extra salt if it is too sweet
- Once the frosting is done, you can start the final assembling by taking a cake leveller or serrated knife to layer off the cake and form a flat surface
- Place the 1st layer on a cake stand or large plate before then adding some frosting. Place the 2nd layer, then add more frosting. Finally, put the 3rd cake layer and the final layer of frosting.
- Decorate the cake using the leftover pecans
- Place your carrot cake in the fridge for 15 minutes before slicing and serving
Tips For Perfecting The Perfect Carrot Cake
- To make sure the cake maintains its shape, always line your pans with parchment paper! This is because parchment paper prevents the cake from sticking to your cake pan.
- Opt for freshly grated carrots for the best flavour
- The best carrot cakes are always made ahead. Leaving them in the fridge for 1 full day will allow all the flavours and elements to gel better.
How Do I Store My Carrot Cake?
Since you’ll be using cream cheese frosting, it is best to store your cake in the fridge to preserve its flavour and texture. Carrot cakes can last up to 6 days there. However, you can also keep it on the counter and have it last 1 – 2 days (just make sure your kitchen isn’t hot!).
Can I Make Carrot Cupcakes Instead?
Of course! The recipe is pretty similar, you just need to fill the cupcake liners ⅔ full and bake it at 350 F for 20 minutes.
Can I Add Pineapple To My Cake?
You can certainly add pineapple to your carrot cake, but make sure to be careful! Adding pineapple will create even more moisture, which may result in your cake crumbling. We suggest you use fresh pineapples to avoid this problem. If you only have access to canned pineapples, then we recommend draining them first.