I had really hoped to post this carrot cake before Easter because it seems like such a fitting dessert for the holiday–it’s what we had yesterday–but the end of the week and weekend were busier than I expected, and I struggled to get good pictures.
Carrot cake is not only good for Easter, though, it is a fabulous dessert for any occasion.
It might be a great dessert for Mother’s Day later this spring or for someone’s birthday. The cake is moist and full of warm spice and the cream cheese frosting is a classic favorite. Carrot cake lovers have their preferences, and you can tweak this recipe to fit yours. Some people like walnuts; others like pecans. You can choose either. Some people hate raisins while others can’t imagine carrot cake without them. Again, you choose to include them or not.
I have experimented with this recipe for several years and now have a recipe that works in the Colorado Springs altitude. When I first made this cake, it tasted great, but it completely fell in the middle after baking. Now I have a cake that tastes fabulous and bakes up perfectly.
*I made a double batch of this recipe, so most of the pictures depict the extra quantity of ingredients. My pictures also include two different bakes, one with a 9 inch round cake and one with two 9 x 13 cakes.
For the cake:
- 5 eggs
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
- 1 cup white sugar (I go a little scant as an altitude adjustment)
- 1 cup light brown sugar (I go a little scant as an altitude adjustment)
- 3 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (I go a little heavy-handed as an altitude adjustment)
- 1 cup cake flour (I go a little heavy-handed as an altitude adjustment)
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 8-10 ounces crushed pineapple, drained (I usually make a double batch of the recipe, so I use one 20 ounce can)
- 3 cups grated carrots
- (optional: 1/2 cup raisins)
- 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
For the cream cheese frosting:
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 4 ounces (1/2 cup) butter, softened
- 1 pound powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- pinch of salt
- optional: garnish with additional chopped or whole nuts or with candy or colored frosting.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. If you plan to turn the finished cake out onto a cake board, serving platter, or cake stand, line the bottom of your pans with parchment paper and then spray one 9 x 13 cake pan or two 9 inch round cake pans with baking spray (Baker’s Joy) or grease and flour the pans.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, apple sauce, sugars, and vanilla.
- In a separate large bowl, combine flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and cinnamon.
- Add flour mixture to egg mixture in 2-3 additions and combine well.
- Stir in pineapple, carrots, raisins, and chopped nuts until evenly distributed.
- Pour batter into pan(s) and bake on the middle rack for approximately 40 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
- To make frosting, beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Add powdered sugar in 2-3 additions, mixing on low. When all has been added, add vanilla and then beat on medium to medium high for 2-3 minutes, until smooth and fluffy. Frost the cooled cake. Garnish with additional chopped nuts if desired.
Source: Cake adapted from Allrecipes.com and frosting from Brown-eyed Baker