Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Listen here.  This weekend is a very important weekend. You know why? A lot, a lot, a lot of families will be spending time together this weekend. Super important.

I’m going home tomorrow and can’t wait. I know that the second I get into the car my mom will offer me a variety snacks that she packed for the ride and then when I walk inside my house she’ll be ready to feed me all of my favorite foods. I love you Mom. You get me. You understand that I get totally cranky if I don’t eat. Therefore, you do everything you possibly can to avoid all crankiness.  21 years. I think we’ve nailed it.

I hope you’re spending time with your family this weekend. If not, I hope you call. Or send your mom flowers. She’ll love it. Really.

Or at the very least play a family member in Words with Friends. This completely counts as healthy communication. It also keeps my confidence at an all time high. You see, my brother is totally the favorite child, but hey at least I’m the one #winning in WWF:

Okay, but really I hope you eat some amazing food this weekend. Food at home always tastes better, doesn’t it?

This cake is perfect for Easter. I wooooooooouldn’t suggest bringing it to a Passover seder. Don’t worry guys – I got the Matzah and Passover-friendly recipes coming this week.

I made this carrot cake for Emily’s birthday. We spent awhile looking through one of my new favorite cookbooks.  It is called Flour – written by the amazing Joanne Chang from Flour Bakery in Boston.  Her Carrot Cake recipe is to die for.  Absolute perfection.

And I will note that I made this cake KitchenAid Mixer-free in my tiny college kitchen and it turned out perfectly.

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe - Little Chef Big Appetite

Carrot Cake Fact: Do not use pre-cut carrot strips.  They are too thick for baked goods and don’t cook down as well as carrots your shred yourself. The point is to disguise the carrots, right?

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe - Little Chef Big Appetite

Here’s the birthday girl on her big 2-2:

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe - Little Chef Big Appetite


Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Carrot Cake
  • 1 cup (220 grams) packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup (150 grams) canola oil
  • 3T nonfat buttermilk
  • ⅓t vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plus 2T (160 grams) all-purpose flour
  • ½t baking powder
  • ½t baking soda
  • ½t salt
  • ½ cinnamon
  • 2 cups (260 grams) tightly packed shredded carrots
  • ½ cup (80 grams) raisins
  • ½ cup (50 grams) walnuts, toasted and chopped
Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, left at room temperature for at least 4 hours
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 2/3 cups (230 grams) confectioners’ sugar
Carrot Cake
  1. Position a rack in the center of your oven.  Preheat to 350 degrees.  Butter an flour and 8-inch cake pan.  (For very easy removal, cut a circle of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan and your cake will come out from the pan perfectly).
  2. Using a stand or handheld mixer beat the eggs and brown sugar on medium-high speed for 3 minutes (longer if mixing by hand), until the mixture is light and thick.  In a separate bowl mix together the oil, buttermilk and vanilla.  On low-speed add the oil mixture to the egg and sugar mixture.
  3. In another bowl sift together the flour, baking power, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.  Fold the flour mixture into the wet ingredients.  When most of the flour mixture has been incorporated at the carrots, raisins and walnuts.  Fold until the mixture is well-combined, although be careful not to overmix.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 1 hour (slightly less for cupcakes) or until the top is golden brown and springs back when you press into the middle with your finger.  Allow to cool completely on a wire rack in the pan.
  1. Beat all three ingredients until well combined.  This should make about 3 1/2 cups - I had extra. Cover the frosting and place it in the fridge for a few hours.  This allows it to firm up before frosting the cake.
  1. Slice the cake in half: If you have a lazy Susan it makes this VERY easy, but if not, you’ll be okay, too.  Using a serrated knife, working your way evenly around the cake, score around the perimeter, cutting about one inch into the cake.  Once the cake has been scored, insert the knife into a grove and using a sawing motion, start to cut the cake, turning the lazy Susan (or the cake plate) as you saw. This should give you an even split down the middle.
  2. Once the cake is split, spread one layer of frosting on the cut side of one half and place the top layer (cut side down) on top of the frosting.  Then, using a spatula spread about one cup of the frosting on the top and sides of the cake.  This is the “crumb coat” and will prevent tiny crumbs from peeking through the frosting.  Then, spread the remaining frosting on the tops and bottom of the cake, ensuring you’re getting an even layer all around.
  3. Make sure to store the cake in the refrigerator when you’re not enjoying it!


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