Celebrate the start of Spring with this layered carrot cake lightly frosted with brown sugar cream cheese. Minimally decorated with fresh carrots, this is an easy cake everyone can make!

In my opinion, a great carrot cake should have visible specks of carrots. I use a coarse grater to shred the carrots.
The cake should be soft and moist. To achieve this, most carrot cakes are made with vegetable oil instead of butter.
A variety in texture makes all foods more exciting. I like to add chopped walnuts to the cake batter. Chopped almonds or pistachios also make wonderful additions.
Carrot cake isn’t complete without cream cheese frosting! The frosting for this carrot cake is sweetened with brown sugar and molasses and it’s spiked with a touch of sour cream for extra tang.


Carrot Cake:

  • 3 cups (370 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) brown sugar, packed
  • 1 Tablespoon (16 g) baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons (8 g) baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons (7 g) ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups (295 g) granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs (218 g)
  • 1 1/2 cups (328 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) whole milk
  • 1 Tablespoon (15 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups (303 g) grated carrots
  • 1 1/2 cups (150 g) toasted walnuts, roughly chopped

Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 8 oz (240 g) cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup (113 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon molasses
  • 2 cups (212 g) powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon sour cream


  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and lightly flour four 6-inch round cake pans (or three 8-inch round cake pans). Tap out any excess flour. Line cake pans with parchment paper and set aside. 
  • 350 degrees 40-45 minutes for 6-inch cakes
  • In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or using a hand mixer), beat together sugar, eggs, vegetable oil, milk, and vanilla until smooth. 
  • Add half of dry flour mixture to mixing bowl and stir together. Add grated carrots and continue mixing. Add remaining dry flour mixture and chopped walnuts. Mix until just combined and there are no longer any dry streaks of flour.
  • Distribute cake batter evenly among prepared cake pans. Bake 6-inch cakes for 40-45 minutes (or 8-inch cakes for 35-40 minutes), until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Rotate cakes midway through baking. Allow cake layers in cool in pan for 5-8 minutes. Unmold cake layers and allow to cool completely on wire racks.
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