Let me eat cake!
September 24, 2010 3:11 PM   Subscribe

Give me your best carrot cake recipe.

I insanely love carrot cake, but there are so many sub-par cakes out there. I want a cake that's moist and rich, and it has to be a little bit spicy. The cream cheese frosting has to be really sweet to offset the spiciness.

I've had delicious carrot cakes like this before, though 90% of the stuff out there is crap. I've decided to attempt to bake the perfect carrot cake.

So, mefites, please hook me up with an awesome recipe!
posted by sickinthehead to Food & Drink (17 answers total) 65 users marked this as a favorite

The. Best.
posted by elsietheeel at 3:15 PM on September 24, 2010

This one, from The Silver Palate Cookbook. The carrots are pureed in a food processor, so the cake texture comes from coconut and walnuts.

Double the frosting recipe, though. [Warning: if you give this recipe to anyone and just say "you should double the frosting," make it clear if you have ALREADY DOUBLED IT. I first got this recipe from someone who did not emphasize that part. My friend and our husbands got completely sugar-bombed from eating the extra frosting with spoons while the cake baked.]
posted by catlet at 3:15 PM on September 24, 2010

This one was a revelation to me. So rich, yet not dense! So free of raisins!

I use pecans instead of walnuts, and when making the icing, I find it helps to start testing for sweetness around about the time I've put in 2/3 of a pound of confectioner's sugar. Using waxed or parchment paper in the bottom of the cake pan helps get it out in one piece.
posted by EvaDestruction at 3:33 PM on September 24, 2010

Look up the southern living website for "The Best Carrot Cake" recipe, make sure you use the buttermilk glaze also. This is the most richest, moist cake ever. I have won many a cake competition with this recipe. I'm at work, or I would link to the recipe. Good luck!!
posted by snoelle at 3:57 PM on September 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

This is the most requested cake for birthdays round these parts.
posted by TrarNoir at 4:00 PM on September 24, 2010

I use this recipe: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/king-arthurs-carrot-cake-recipe , but add crushed pineapple , coconut and nuts to the frosting. Oh, and soften the frosting with juice from the can of pineapple. I also bake it in a medium,rectangular baking pan, rather than as layers.
posted by path at 4:01 PM on September 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Seconding elsietheeel. Smitten Kitchen's recipe is the one I've made three times now. The frosting is also amazing from that recipe.
posted by kthxbi at 4:19 PM on September 24, 2010

Oh path reminded me.

I add an 8 ounce can of crushed pineapple to the Smitten Kitchen recipe and I leave out the raisins.
posted by elsietheeel at 4:57 PM on September 24, 2010

I made Alton brown's carrot cake recipe last week, and everyone n the family was very enthusiastic. It was still moist after a week. I used about a pound of carrots instead of his 12 oz. and baked it in two 9" cake pans instead of his tall single cake pan (to increase the frosting ratio).
posted by leahwrenn at 9:27 PM on September 24, 2010

If you love carrot cake (I do too), you must try some Washington Apple Cake. It is fabulous and I love walnuts in it with cream cheese frosting. This is my all-time favorite homemade dessert:
Washington Apple Cake Recipe

3 eggs
2 c. sugar
2 c. flour
1 c. cooking oil
1 c. chopped walnuts
4 c. thinly sliced and pared tart apples
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 tsp. vanilla


Beat eggs with mixer until thick and light. Combine sugar and oil, pour into eggs. Mix at medium speed. Stir together flour, cinnamon, soda and salt; add to egg mixture with vanilla; beat to mix. Stir in walnuts. Spread apples in a buttered 13X9X2 glass pan. Pour batter over apple; spread batter to cover. Bake in 350 degrees oven for 1 hour. Cool and spread with cream cheese icing.

Cream cheese icing: Soften 2 (3 ounce) packages of cream cheese. Beat until fluffy. Beat 1/4 cup of melted butter; then beat 2 cups of powdered sugar and 1 tsp. lemon juice. Spread over completely cooled cake.
posted by nogero at 9:27 PM on September 24, 2010 [3 favorites]

This doesn't answer your question but I just wanted to share. Take a vegetable peeler and shave long and as wide as you can get it strips from a carrot and boil it in sugar water until it is flexible and has a nice sheen to it. You can decorate your cake with those strips. I find them hilariously pretentious but so easy to do.
posted by spec80 at 4:34 AM on September 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

I use the recipe from the Moosewood Cookbook. It makes a huge cake, but its easy enough to half, or third the recipe with I do quite often.

1.5C Butter
1.75C Brown Sugar, packed (I like using demerara sugar over yellow)
4 Eggs
3 tsp Vanilla extract
1 tsp Lemon rind
4C Flour
1 tsp Salt
1 TBSP Baking powder
.5 tsp Baking soda
1 tsp Allspice (sometimes I'll skip the allspice and, use 2 tsp of cardamon instead)
2 tsp Cinnamon
2.5C Carrots, grated and packed combined with a quarter cup of lemon juice.

Walnuts or pecans
Raisins or currents
Coconut, unsweetened

It follows the usual formula for mixing cakes. Beat butter and, sugar together then add eggs one by one till fluffy.

Sift together the dry ingredients. Add this to the butter mixture alternating with the carrots, beginning and ending with the flour. Don't overmix. Stir in the optional ingredients.

Bake at 350 in a greased and floured pan for 35 minutes in an oblong or, 40 to 50 minutes in a loaf pan or until the toothpick comes out clean.

For the icing I use more cream cheese than butter and, keep tasting as I add sugar. I tend to like it more on the cheesy side than cloyingly sweet side so its impossible to say how much I add of any of anything. Oh, and I add just a titch of lemon juice to my icing along with the vanilla.
posted by squeak at 6:17 AM on September 25, 2010

Response by poster: Wonderful answers so far!!! I am going to try each of these recipes over the next months to determine exactly which one is my favorite. :cD

I'll let you know.
posted by sickinthehead at 6:22 AM on September 25, 2010

Preheat oven to 350, grease and flour two round cake pans or a 13x9 oblong one
Combine 2 C flour, 2 t baking soda, 2 t cinnamon, 1/2 t salt: sift and set aside.
Beat 3 eggs, add 3/4 C vegetable oil, 3/4 C buttermilk, 2 C sugar, 2 t vanilla and mix well.
Add dry ingredients, then add:
8 oz. can crushed pineapple
2 C grated carrots
3 1/2 oz shredded coconut
1 C chopped walnuts (I have substituted pecans, occasionally)
Bake cake for 50-55 minutes, remove from oven, pour over it the following
1 C sugar
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 C buttermilk
1/4 lb butter (one stick)
1 T corn syrup
1 t vanilla
(heat and stir all ingredients until sugar is dissolved)
Cool pans for 15 minutes, until glaze is totally absorbed. Frost with the following
2 sticks butter at room temperature
1 8 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
1 t vanilla
2 C powdered sugar
1 t orange juice 1 t grated orange peel
Cream butter and cheese, then add remaining ingredients. Frost between layers, sides and top.
posted by francesca too at 9:41 AM on September 25, 2010

I recall being pleasantly surprised by one of chockylit's recipes (carrot cakes usually feel too moist to me). I think it was this one.
posted by mirileh at 12:52 PM on September 25, 2010

Rachel Allen's is the best I've had by a country mile and should hit the notes you're looking for. We made one for my wedding cake.

posted by chill at 5:38 AM on September 29, 2010

I made Alton Brown's recipe - it wasn't very traditional tasting. More like "Here's a nice yellow cake, oh weird, it has carrot in it." Not BAD, but might not be what you're looking for.
posted by ansate at 2:50 PM on October 14, 2010

« Older Poem about boiling cabbage   |   Mixologists wanted! Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.