Carrot cake is polarizing, you either love it or hate it. We think once you try our carrot cake recipe (handed down from Erik’s grandmother, who we affectionately call Mimi), you’ll be part of the “love it” crowd.
Prep Time: 15 min
Bake Time: 30 min
Ready In: 2 hours
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup oil (canola or vegetable)
- 2 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups shredded carrots (about 4 carrots)
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1 stick butter, softened
- 1 pkg (8oz) cream cheese, softened
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- Three 9″ cake pans
- Parchment paper
- Wire cooling racks
- Stand mixer with beater and whisk attachments
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, crack 4 eggs. Add sugar and oil. Beat on medium until fully combined and starting to lighten in color.
- Add flour, salt, and baking soda. Mix on low to combine.
- Add carrots and pecans. Mix to combine.
- Cut parchment paper to fit the bottom of each cake pan (pro tip: use cardboard to create a template of your cake pan, then keep on hand to quickly trace out the circles on parchment). Grease the cake pans before putting the parchment in the bottom of each, then grease the parchment as well.
- Divide batter among the three cake pans. Bake for 30 minutes until tops are brown, rotating the pans from top to bottom, left to right halfway through for even baking.
- While the cakes are baking, make the frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat together the butter and cream cheese on high, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until fluffy. This will take a while, maybe 10 minutes, but the resulting texture of the frosting is worth it.
- Add in the vanilla extract and beat until incorporated, again scraping down the sides of the bowl.
- Add in 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Add in another 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, beating again until smooth. Add in the last 1/2 cup of powdered sugar gradually, tasting the frosting as you go to ensure you don’t make the frosting too sweet (it should still be pretty tangy when you are done, but not like straight cream cheese).
- Remove the pans from the oven and allow the cakes to cool completely in the pans set on top of wire racks.
- Run a knife around the outside of the cakes to loosen before inverting the first layer onto a plate.
- Top the first layer with 1/3 of the frosting. Spread out evenly to entirely coat the top.
- Invert the second layer onto the first layer, being careful to stack it directly on top so the cake doesn’t lean. Top with another third of the frosting, spreading out to completely cover the top of the later.
- Invert the third and final layer onto the bottom 2 layers, again ensuring the cake isn’t leaning. Top with the remaining third of the frosting, spreading out to completely cover the top of the cake. We prefer to not frost the sides of the cake, but you can do that if you like.
- Top with toasted chopped pecans and chill at least 1 hour before serving.
Pro tip: If you don’t have a cake stand or similar (we don’t), use a large inverted tupperware, placing the cake on the upside-down lid and using the bowl of the tupperware as a cover.