Homemade Carrot Cake

It is Good Friday, which means Easter Sunday is upon us. Having a carrot cake to celebrate this weekend seems perfect! Below is the recipe and some helpful tips.

Making this carrot cake was moderately easy. The cake came out spongy, moist, and a good height. I decided to make double layer cake with 9-inch round cakes so I can add cream cheese frosting in the middle. You can make a 9 x 13 inch sheet cake with this recipe as well. However, know it only makes a single layer cake.

Grating carrots took the most prep time. Before I added the carrots to the batter, I strained them of excess water using a table cloth. This helps keep the batter from becoming too runny.

The recipe does call for 1 1/2 cups of vegetable oil. I did not have enough oil when I made this cake. So I smashed a banana to substitute for the cup of oil. I think the cake taste pretty good with a hint of banana. It is also healthier to add banana than a ton of oil. If you want a traditional carrot cake, I recommend using only oil for this recipe.

Adding walnuts to a carrot cake is pretty typical. However some folks may not like a crunchy cake. If you don’t add walnuts to your cake mix, feel free to add them to the top like I did. You can also use pecans as a substitute.

Cream cheese frosting is essential for a carrot cake. Make sure your butter and cheese is room temperature soft. Leave it sitting out for about 2 hours before making your frosting!

It is important to whip the butter and cream cheese really well before adding the powdered sugar. You don’t want your mixture to have lumps! You can tell when the cream cheese and butter is mixed well when it starts to look like frosting before adding the sugar. I had to make an extra batch of cream cheese frosting to add a crumb coat to my cake. You may NOT need extra but please be mindful of this!

If you want to make the frosting stiffer I suggest adding in more powered sugar one tablespoon at a time. If you want your frosting to be smoother and creamier, adding a tiny bit of milk one teaspoon at a time might help. You can also add more lemon juice but your frosting will have a stronger citrus kick to it.

I used buttercream icing with food coloring to make the carrots. Buttercream lets the carrots to get stiff enough so they transfer easily to the cake. I used about 10 drops of green gel food coloring for the leaves, and 5 yellow plus 5 orange drops to get the carrot orange color. I used store bought buttercream. Feel free to make your own if it works best.

Overall I think this cake was delicious. I am usually a better cook than baker, but I am now officially upgrading my baking status from beginner to moderate.

Please let me know how this cake turns out for you below!

Homemade Carrot Cake

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Rating: ★★★★
  • Print

A traditional but easy to make carrot cake to share!

Cake Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil OR 1/2 cup oil + 1 smashed banana
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • 2/3 cup walnuts (optional)

Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, soften (2 sticks)
  • 8 oz brick cream cheese, soften (full fat)
  • 3 tsps lemon juice
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • pinch of salt

Cake Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, beat eggs with granulated and brown sugar for 1 minute on medium speed using a handheld mixer.
  4. Mix oil into sugar mixture slowly. Make sure oil is combined well with sugar mixture. Set aside
  5. Before adding carrots to sugar mixture, make sure to drain carrots of excess water.
  6. Mix carrots and sugar mixture well.
  7. Add in dry ingredients to the sugar and carrot mixture.
  8. Stir ingredients together with a mixing spoon. Mix well. Add in walnuts if you’d like.
  9. Grease 2 9-inch round pans OR 9×13-inch sheet cake pan.
  10. Pour batter into pan and place in oven to bake for 27-30 minutes or until fully cooked.
  11. Let cakes cool completely before frosting!
  12. Top with walnuts or carrot decor!

Cream Cheese Frosting Directions

  1. With a handheld mixture, combine, butter, cream cheese, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Combine until cream texture forms. Make sure there are no lumps!
  2. Add 2 1/2 cups of the powdered sugar and mix well.
  3. Add second half of powdered sugar with salt and mix well.
  4. When ready, frost your cake when the cake has been fully cooled down! Frosting cake while hot will make icing runny!

Enjoy your homemade carrot cake!

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