Carrot Cake – This is a year of big birthdays in our house. James and I both turn 30 (!!!) and Jack will turn 1. Woah. I don’t “feel” 30, although I’m not sure how one is supposed to “feel” at 30. To be perfectly honest, I was totally fine with it. Until I started typing this post. Seeing it in print is sort of…weird. I suppose it’s just hard to believe that we are that old and that our baby will be 1 before we know it!
In the year of birthdays, James’s is first. I asked him what kind of cake he wanted and he thought about it for .002 seconds before blurting out that he wanted a carrot cake. Well, alrighty then. After much searching, I narrowed it down to three recipes that all offered something different and he chose this one, which I would consider to be the closest to what most people think of a traditional carrot cake.
This cake definitely did not disappoint. It’s moist, full of flavor, and beautiful. I thought that I would end up sending some of it to work with James but we kept the entire cake here and didn’t share it with anyone! That rarely happens. 🙂
For the cakes:
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting pans
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp. coarse salt
- 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
- 3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for pans
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 lb. carrots, 8-10 medium carrots, peeled and shredded, about 2 3/4 cups
- 2 cups pecans, divided (1 cup finely chopped, 1 cup coarsely chopped)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and butter 2 9-inch round cake pans. Fit the bottom of the pans with parchment rounds, then butter and flour the parchment lined pans, tapping out the excess flour.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and nutmeg.
3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars together on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the bowl and beat on medium speed for 3 minutes.
4. Add in vanilla, water, and carrot and beat until well combined, scraping down bowl as needed. With the mixer on a low speed, slowly add in the flour mixture and then the finely chopped pecans.
5. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and bake until golden brown and a tester comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool in pans on wire rack for 15 minutes then run a sharp knife around the edge of the pans and remove cakes from pan. Cool cakes on wire rack completely.
6. To frost the cakes, trim the top of one cake and spread 1 cup of cream cheese frosting on the cut side of the cake. Top with second cake and frost completely. Carefully press coarsely chopped pecans onto the sides of the cake. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
For the cream cheese frosting:
- 2 packages (16 oz.) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into small pieces & at room temperature
- 2 lbs. powdered sugar
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and vanilla on medium speed until creamy. Slowly add in butter and mix until well combined.
2. On a low speed, slowly add in powdered sugar and beat until fluffy and smooth.