Recipe: Classic Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

I’d never made carrot cake before today. Growing up, my non-chocolate-loving dad sometimes requested carrot cake for his birthday, but we never made it from scratch. With a former professor coming over for Sunday dinner, I wanted to make a special dessert. I’d recently seen this carrot cake recipe on The Kitchn so decided to go for it. I mean, who can resist cream cheese frosting? The cake takes some coordination (and lots of bowls) to put together, but nothing requires special techniques; it’s pretty much a whisk-and-combine recipe.

And it turned out awesomely. It received positive reviews from F and C, and I was really happy with how moist it remained (I’ve been struggling with our oven temperatures and timing). I realized when we started eating it that I could have — should have — added some raisins for extra juice, but even without the raisins the cake had plenty of flavor and added texture from the walnuts. It’s not the kind of thing you’d want to eat regularly — the frosting is quite sweet — but ‘ll definitely make it again for a special occasion.

UPDATE, 30 Sep 2013: Made this again, but adjusted some measurements: I used 1/2 cup whole wheat flour and 1.5 cups white flour, and 1/3 cup of each sugar (cutting down by a little). The cake still came out moist and just sweet enough.

Classic Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting (adapted from this recipe)


  • Cake:
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour (or 1.5 cups AP flour + 1/2 cup whole wheat or spelt flour)
    • 2 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/3 cup walnuts, crushed (feel free to use other nuts or none at all)
    • 4 eggs
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 3/4 cup sunflower oil
    • 1/3 cup white sugar
    • 1/3 cup brown sugar
    • 4 cups (4-5) carrots, grated
  • Frosting:
    • 57g (2 oz/1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
    • 227g (1 cup/8 oz) cream cheese, softened
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 2.5-3.5 cups powdered sugar
    • pinch of salt


  • Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350F (175C). In one bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (through salt). In a separate, smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs and vanilla. In a large bowl, beat the sugar and oil, then gradually alternate adding the dry ingredients and egg mixture, stirring until combined. Grate the carrots and fold them into the batter. Spread it in a pan and bake for 25-40 minutes, or until a knife inserted comes out mostly clean.
  • While the cake is in the oven, make the frosting: Beat the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in the vanilla and add the powdered sugar gradually, beating and adding until the frosting is at your desired thickness.
  • When the cake is baked, let it cool to room temperature before frosting.


9 thoughts on “Recipe: Classic Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Katherine

    Did I mention how inspiring your recipes are? This one is totally going on my “try” list! And it will be really easy to find all those ingredients in Ukraine, hooray : )

    1. taplatt Post author

      Thank you, Katherine! I’m flattered. The carrot cake should definitely be doable in Ukraine — you’ll have to splurge on cream cheese and butter but everything else should be affordable.

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