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Carrot Cake Recipe

Classic Carrot Cake Recipe

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Welcome to our timeless cake recipes section! Today, we’re sharing a beloved recipe for Classic Carrot Cake. This moist and flavorful cake features freshly shredded carrots, warm spices, and crunchy pecans. Perfect for any occasion, this carrot cake is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. Let’s get started!

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Ingredients

For the Cake:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting pans
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for pans
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 lb. carrots (8-10 medium carrots), peeled and shredded, about 2 3/4 cups
  • 2 cups pecans, divided (1 cup finely chopped, 1 cup coarsely chopped)

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk (optional, for desired consistency)

Instructions

Step 1: Prepare the Cake Pans

  1. Preheat Oven: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Butter and flour two 9-inch round cake pans, then line the bottoms with parchment paper.

Step 2: Mix the Dry Ingredients

  1. Combine Dry Ingredients: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, ground ginger, and nutmeg. Set aside.

Step 3: Cream the Butter and Sugars

  1. Beat Butter and Sugars: In a large mixing bowl, beat the 3 sticks of unsalted butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.

Step 4: Add the Eggs and Vanilla

  1. Add Eggs and Vanilla: Beat in the eggs one at a time, ensuring each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next. Mix in the vanilla extract.

Step 5: Combine Wet and Dry Ingredients

  1. Alternate Dry Ingredients and Water: Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, alternating with the 1/2 cup of water. Begin and end with the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.

Step 6: Add Carrots and Pecans

  1. Fold in Carrots and Pecans: Gently fold in the shredded carrots and the 1 cup of finely chopped pecans.

Step 7: Bake the Cake

  1. Pour Batter into Pans: Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans and smooth the tops.
  2. Bake: Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean.
  3. Cool: Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then turn them out onto wire racks to cool completely.

Step 8: Prepare the Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Beat Cream Cheese and Butter: In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth and creamy.
  2. Add Powdered Sugar and Vanilla: Gradually add the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating until smooth and well combined. Mix in the vanilla extract. If the frosting is too thick, add milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached.

Step 9: Assemble the Cake

  1. Frost the Cake: Place one cake layer on a serving plate and spread a layer of frosting on top. Place the second cake layer on top and frost the top and sides of the cake.
  2. Garnish with Pecans: Press the remaining 1 cup of coarsely chopped pecans onto the sides of the cake, and sprinkle a few on top if desired.

Step 10: Serve

  1. Serve and Enjoy: Slice and serve the carrot cake. Enjoy the moist, flavorful cake with rich cream cheese frosting!

Cooking Notes and Tips

  • Carrots: For best results, shred the carrots using a box grater or food processor just before making the cake to retain their moisture.
  • Pecans: Toast the pecans lightly for added flavor and crunch.
  • Frosting: Make sure the cream cheese and butter are fully softened for a smooth frosting.

Variations

Pineapple Carrot Cake

Add 1/2 cup of crushed pineapple (drained) to the batter for a moist and fruity variation.

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Raisin Carrot Cake

Fold 1/2 cup of raisins into the batter along with the carrots and pecans for added sweetness and texture.

Spiced Carrot Cake

Increase the cinnamon to 1 1/2 teaspoons and add 1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves for a more spiced cake.

Coconut Carrot Cake

Add 1/2 cup of shredded coconut to the batter for a tropical twist.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I make this cake ahead of time?

Yes, you can bake the cake layers a day in advance. Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and store at room temperature. Frost the cake just before serving.

How do I store leftovers?

Store any leftover cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Can I freeze this cake?

Yes, you can freeze the unfrosted cake layers. Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before frosting and serving.

What can I serve with this cake?

This cake pairs well with a cup of coffee, tea, or a glass of milk. It’s also delicious with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

How can I make the cake healthier?

Use whole wheat flour for half of the all-purpose flour, reduce the sugar, and use Greek yogurt instead of some of the butter.

Classic Carrot Cake is a timeless and flavorful dessert that’s perfect for any occasion. With its moist texture, warm spices, and rich cream cheese frosting, it’s sure to be a hit. Enjoy making and sharing this delicious cake with your family and friends!