The BEST Carrot Cake…according to my family at least! Carrot cake is my brother-in-law Aaron’s favorite cake, so I never ask him what kind of cake he wants me to make him for his birthday, I just know I will be making him a Carrot Cake. I made this same cake back in July for Aaron’s birthday and my mom loved it so much, she quickly told she was placing her birthday cake order and wanted this same carrot cake (mom’s birthday is in January).
Well I don’t forget. I may be horrible at remembering names, but I can pretty much tell you what flavors, types of desserts and preferred baking method (crunchy cookies for dad), are the favorites of all my friends and family. So here it is January and mom’s 60th birthday was rolling around. I did not forget her request for my carrot cake, so I never asked mom what cake she wanted for her birthday. When I brought this cake out for her birthday, I think she was surprised I remembered her request!
This is a thick, one layer cake, so you need to use a spring form pan to bake it in. If you use a regular cake pan, you will get spillage. This cake bakes up into a nice, thick, moist carrot cake full of warm spices, and topped with a sweet, cream cheese frosting! I have found that the best carrots to use to make carrot cake are the baby carrots. They seem to have a higher water content, helping to add moisture to the carrot cake. I know it’s a pain to grate a million baby carrots, but it’s worth the extra few minutes of time.
Those are the carrots I used, and my mini box grater. You want very small carrot bits…because you don’t actually want to be chewing on carrots when eating a slice of cake, do you?
The ingredients take a quick mix in the KitchenAid and then your batter is ready for the oven!
The BEST Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese FrostingPrint Recipe
- CARROT CAKE:
- 3/4 cup canola oil
- 1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup vanilla-flavored greek yogurt, room temperature
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- pinch of salt
- 2 cups finely grated carrots
- 3/4 cup pecan pieces
- CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:
- 1 (8-ounce package) cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2-1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
- pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 350-degrees. Line the bottom of a spring form pan with parchment paper and spray the sides and bottom of pan with baking spray. I used an 8-inch spring form pan, which took a long time to bake, but you can use any size spring form pan. Adjust your baking time according though. Set aside.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, affixed with the paddle attachment, add the oil and brown sugar. Beat the mixture on medium-high speed until combined. Add eggs one at a time, beating each egg into the mixture thoroughly before adding the next egg. Add vanilla extract and greek yogurt and beat thoroughly into mixture.
With the mixture on low speed, add the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt to the wet ingredients and mix on low only until ingredients are barely incorporated.
Remove the bowl from the mixer and add the finely grated carrots and pecan pieces by hand to the mixture, gently folding them in. Pour batter into prepared spring form pan and bake in 350-degree oven for 45-50 minutes.
Bake time will depend on the size spring form pan you use. I used an 8-inch spring form pan and my cake took 50-minutes to bake. Start checking cake after 35-minutes, by inserting a toothpick in the middle. Cake is done when toothpick comes out without raw batter on it.
Let cake cool completely before frosting.
PREPARE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the cream cheese and beat the cream cheese using the paddle attachment, until smooth and creamy. Add the butter to the cream cheese and beat on medium-high until combined and creamy. Turn the mixer to low speed and add the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, heavy whipping cream and salt. Once all ingredients are incorporated, beat on medium-high speed for 3-minutes until light and fluffy. You may need to add a little more heavy whipping cream or powdered sugar in order to get your desired consistency.
Once cake has cooled, use a bread knife to level the top of the cake. Invert the cake onto a cake dish and remove the parchment round from the bottom of the cake. Dump the frosting out onto the top of the cake and use an icing spatula to spread the frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Garnish with more pecan pieces.
Store frosted cake, covered, in the refrigerator.
That is the spring form pan I used. See how thick this cake is?! After your cake has cooled, then you whip up the easy Cream Cheese Frosting and slather the frosting ALLLLLLLLL over the cake. Mmmmmm…then decorate the top and sides of the cake with pecans, if you are so inclined! I threw on some sprinkles, and fondant lettering I made too, since this was a birthday cake for mom!
Me, the birthday girl (my mom Cindy), James and Ethan! We celebrated moms birthday by playing Bocce Ball and having a family dinner at Campo Di Bocce. And our team (the girl team) won at Bocce Ball! 🙂
Miss A and Miss G were pretty excited about cake!!
Sorry! Best picture of the cake I could get after being sliced! The lighting at the restaurant was horrible!
And then I ate this big slice of cake…hahaha just kidding. I sent the rest of the cake home with Mom and Dad!
So there ya have it! Our family favorite Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting! Even people that don’t like carrot cake, like this cake!
PS- I linked up this recipe and a few of my others at the following link parties: What’s Cooking Wednesday, Weekend Potluck, Create, Link & Inspire, Sugar and Spice. Click on the links to check out tons of recipes and crafts from a bunch of different bloggers!