You know when you’re just really craving something and have to have it immediately? That’s been me A LOT lately, and these last few days I’ve been really in the mood for carrots. Not healthy, crunchy, vitamin-packed carrots, but carrots mixed with sugars and frosting. I was craving a carrot cake.
There’s something about spring and carrots that just go together. Easter was just a few weeks ago, and I saw so many carrot cakes floating around on Instagram. It’s like we all got the memo that carrots are the ~vibe~ of the season, and I’m not mad at it at all. Carrot cake is one of those recipes that fits right in with all the things I like: sweet, with lots of tastes and textures.
I frosted this cake with a cream cheese buttercream frosting, even though (fun fact) I’m not a huge fan of frosting. So for that reason, I frosted the outside very lightly to get that ‘naked cake’ look that is super popular right now. I love the naked cake trend because it’s perfect for frosting novices like myself who aren’t perfect at it. It’s hard to make a naked cake look bad, it requires very little frosting and you just swipe it around the cake, leaving parts of the cake exposed, no perfection necessary. Plus, if you don’t have a lot of frosting on hand or don’t want to make a lot because you don’t love it anyway (raises hand) it’s a great solution to frosting your cake.
I love this classic carrot cake recipe because it’s no frills, nothing new, just a really solid cookbook recipe that is easy and really works. It also tastes great, which is all that matters right? I hope you get to try this recipe, and I hope you love it! Now, go forth and bake!
- 1 1/2 cups plus 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 6 eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3 1/4 cups flour
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- pinch of ground cloves
- 1 pound grated fresh carrots
- (optional: 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts)
- 4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour three two 9-inch round baking pans.
- In the bowl of a large stand mixer, mix together oil and sugars until combined and smooth. Add in the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla, and mix until smooth.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining dry ingredients (flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, baking powder, nutmeg and cloves) until combined. Add the dry ingredient mixture to the mixing bowl, and beat on medium-speed until just combined, scraping down the pan at least once to be sure that everything is well mixed. Next, fold in the grated carrots by hand, and stir until combined. If you would like to add nuts, stir them in at this time as well.
- Pour the batter evenly into the prepared cake pans. If using light or clear pans, bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cakes comes out clean. Dark pans may take up to 40 mins, but check frequently to make sure they don't overcook. Remove pans and let them cool on a wire rack until the cakes reach room temperature.
- Using an electric mixer, cream together cream cheese and butter on medium speed for 1 minute or until smooth with no lumps remaining. Add in vanilla extract and salt, and continue mixing until combined. Lower speed to medium-low and gradually add in powdered sugar. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until combined.
- Layer the cakes with the cream cheese frosting, and lightly frost the outside of the cake as you desire. Serve immediately or store, covered, for up to 4 days.
Total time does not include additional time needed to cool cakes on wire racks.
Adapted from: Gimme Some Oven