Our Classic Carrot Cake made bakery-style is moist and tender as well as spiced and sweetened just right. It is made of the finest all-natural and organic ingredients you can find. Our Best Ever Cream Cheese Buttercream, and the walnut coating, takes Carrot Cake to a whole new level!
For the Carrot Cake
- 2 cups (about 250 g) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus additional for cake pans
- 2 cups (400 g) granulated cane sugar
- 1 teaspoon (4.8 g) baking powder
- 1 teaspoon (4.8 g) baking soda
- 1 teaspoon (4.8 g) fine-grain sea salt
- 1½ teaspoons (3.75 g) ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon (1 g) ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon (about .65 g) freshly grated organic whole nutmeg
- 1 cup (about 220 g) expeller pressed sunflower seed oil
- 4 large organic eggs (mine weighed 2o4 g total w/o shells)
- 2 teaspoons (10 ml) pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups (300 g) grated carrot, from about 4 large peeled carrots
- ½ cup (40 g) unsweetened shredded coconut
- ¾ cup (135 g) finely diced fresh pineapple
- Extra sunflower seed oil, for greasing cake pans
For the Cream Cheese Buttercream
- 1 to 1½ recipes Best Ever Cream Cheese Buttercream, recipe by Wicked Good Kitchen
For the Optional Cake Adornments
- 1¼ cups (about 138 g) finely chopped walnuts, to decorate sides of cake
- Grated carrots, to decorate top perimeter of cake
- Freshly grated nutmeg, to lightly dust top perimeter of cake
- Three 8-inch (20 cm) by 1½ to 2-inch round cake pans
- Four wire cooling racks, with the fourth used to flip cake layers right side up
- One 8-inch (20 cm) cardboard cake round, helpful but not necessary
- Cake Turntable, such as Ateco® or Wilton®, helpful but not necessary
- Metal Angled or Offset Icing Spatula, such as Ateco® or Wilton®, helpful but not necessary
- Metal Icing Spatula, such as Ateco® or Wilton®, helpful but not necessary
- Wax paper, for lining cake plate for icing & nut coating, helpful but not necessary
- Piping bag, coupler and Wilton® No. 21 star or 1M open star decorating tip, not necessary if no piping is desired
- Prepare Carrot Cake: Arrange oven rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 325º F (165º C). Grease three 8-inch (20 cm) round cake pans with oil. Line bottoms with parchment or wax paper circles. Grease paper linings and dust lined pans with flour, tapping out the excess.
- Using an electric stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, or handheld mixer and large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices on low speed (stir) until well combined. Add oil, eggs and vanilla; mix on low speed (stir), scraping down the sides of bowl as necessary with rubber spatula. Beat on medium speed until well blended, about 1 to 2 minutes. Fold in carrots, coconut and pineapple and mix until thoroughly combined. Using rubber spatula, scrape and pour batter into prepared pans, dividing evenly (about 2 cups or 480 ml of batter per cake pan). Smooth tops evenly with rubber spatula.
- Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Run thin metal spatula around edges of each cake to loosen, then invert onto wire rack and peel away parchment or wax paper. Turn right side up onto wire racks (using an additional rack to flip); cool completely.
- Prepare the Cream Cheese Buttercream: Prepare according to recipe directions.
- Assemble and Ice the Cake: To frost and fill cake, use a scant ¾ to 1 cup (180 ml to 240 ml) frosting between each layer and then proceed to spread frosting over top and sides of cake neatly and evenly with remaining buttercream. You may do a crumb coat and then chill the cake for 30 to 45 minutes before completing the icing, if desired. However, if decorating the sides of the cake with nuts, skip the crumb coat because the nuts will hide any crumbs that may be showing.
- To Decorate the Cake: If decorating the cake, gently press finely chopped walnuts onto sides of cake. This is easy to do if the cake layers are assembled onto a cardboard cake round. Simply hold and balance the cake on the cake round in one hand and use free hand to press the nuts into the sides of the cake. Use a sheet of parchment or wax paper, or even a sheet pan, to catch the excess.
- If not using a cardboard cake round to hold the cake and press nuts into sides of cake, it is still easy to do. Simply line your cake plate or pedestal with four 4- to 5-inch (about 10 to 13 cm) wide strips of wax paper and use hand to press nuts onto sides of cake. The wax paper strips will catch the nuts that fall away. Turn the cake as you work (a cake turntable is helpful, but not necessary) all the way around. Once finished, scoop away the fallen nuts with spoon and pull the wax paper sheets away leaving a clean cake plate or pedestal.
- Pipe a simple or fancy border with your favorite tip (I used the 1M open star tip) around the perimeter of the top layer. Sprinkle grated carrot in a circle on top of the cake, just inside the piped border. If desired, lightly dust top perimeter of cake with freshly grated nutmeg.
- Yield: Makes one 8-inch (20 cm) round 3-layer cake; about 8 to 10 servings.
Cake may be made one day in advance. Keep covered in refrigerator.
The buttercream can be made 2 to 3 days in advance. Keep refrigerated in an airtight container. Before using, bring to room temperature before beating smooth again.
Prepare extra buttercream, about 1½ recipes if piping a large border around the top perimeter of the cake is desired.
After frosting the layered cake it is best to chill it until firm, about 1 to 2 hours. Chilling, before slicing the cake, will yield neater cake slices for a better plated presentation.
Total Time represents preparing the cake batter and baking the cake. Additional time is required for the cake to cool as well as to prepare the buttercream and decorate the cake, which can vary.
How to Measure All-Purpose Flour for this Recipe: This tip is provided for bakers who do not own a kitchen scale and will be measuring flour by volume rather than by weight. First, aerate flour by stirring it in the container. Then, simply use the “Dip and Sweep Method” by dipping dry measuring cup into the flour and then level off the top with the straight edge of a metal icing spatula. (The straight edge of a knife from a flatware set can be used as well.) This should yield about 125 grams per 1 cup of flour. Use a sheet of wax paper as a liner on your work surface to measure flour so that the excess can easily be funneled back into flour bag or container.
To Store the Cake: Keep cake covered and stored in refrigerator until ready to slice. Serve slightly chilled or at room temperature.
To Prepare Cupcakes: Arrange oven rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 325º F (165ºC). Line standard 12-cup muffin pan with standard paper bake cups. Divide batter evenly among 24 muffin cups (baked in two batches), filling each cup ¾ full. Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into center of a cupcake comes out clean, about 24 minutes. Cool cupcakes in muffin pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Transfer baked cupcakes to wire racks to cool completely, about 1 hour. Yield: Makes 24 cupcakes.
Brown Sugar: Part light or dark organic cane brown sugar may be used for enhanced flavor. Simply use 1 cup (200 g) organic granulated cane sugar and 1 cup (200 g) packed light or dark brown organic cane sugar in lieu of 2 cups (400 g) organic granulated cane sugar called for in the recipe. I prefer using part light or dark brown sugar in the fall and winter months, but prefer using all granulated cane sugar in the spring. The reason is because the flavor profile and color of the cake is a bit deeper and more suitable in the fall and winter when using light brown sugar. Conversely, the lighter shade of orange is more suitable for spring, such as for an Easter Carrot Cake, when using all granulated sugar.
Non-Organic Substitutions and Measurements:
Salt: Although pure fine-grain sea salt without additives is strongly recommended, ¾ teaspoon (4.5 g) regular table salt can be substituted for 1 teaspoon (4.8 g) fine-grain sea salt called for in recipe.
Oil: Although organic cold-pressed or expeller-pressed sunflower seed oil is strongly recommended, 1 cup or 240 ml (weight may vary slightly) of your favorite nut or vegetable oil may be used.
Coconut: Although organic unsweetened shredded coconut is strongly recommended, ¾ cup (90 g) shredded sweetened coconut, such as Baker’s® Angel Flake®, can be substituted for ½ cup (about 40 g) organic unsweetened shredded coconut, such as Let’s Do Organic®, called for in recipe.
Pineapple: Although diced fresh organic pineapple is strongly recommended, ½ cup (122 g) drained crushed pineapple, such as Dole®, from an 8-ounce (227 g) can, can be substituted for ¾ cup (about 135 g) finely diced fresh organic pineapple called for in recipe.
Wicked Good Kitchen highly recommends selecting organic ingredients whenever possible.
For this recipe, and all our baking recipes calling for unbleached all-purpose flour, we highly recommend the pure and Organic Unbleached All-Purpose Flour by Hodgson Mill® because it is naturally white and contains no additives. We also highly recommend organic grass-fed butter, eggs, granulated cane sugar, brown sugar and confectioners’ sugar as well as organic carrots, coconut (such as Unsweetened Shredded Coconut by Let’s Do Organic®), fresh pineapple (or 365 Everyday Value Pineapple Chunks by Whole Foods Market®), walnuts and spices. We also highly recommend aluminum-free baking powder (such as 365 Everyday Value Aluminum-Free Baking Powder by Whole Foods Market®), pure baking soda (such as 365 Everyday Value Baking Soda by Whole Foods Market®), Organic Valley® Cream Cheese and Nielsen-Massey® Organic Pure Vanilla Extract as well as 365 Everyday Value Organic Refined Expeller Pressed Sunflower Seed Oil by Whole Foods Market®.
Carrot Cake Recipe Adapted From: Better Homes & Gardens
Best Ever Cream Cheese Buttercream Recipe by: WickedGoodKitchen.com
Original Recipe Source: WickedGoodKitchen.com
Copyright © Wicked Good Kitchen. All content and images are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words. Alternatively, link back to this post for the recipe.