Carrot Cake Recipe

The nuts and bolts of this cake recipe are pure Rose Levy Beranbaum, as found in her latest book, Rose’s Heavely Cakes. It differs mainly in the spicing, since in my universe a carrot cake is really a classic spice cake dressed up in hippie garb. This cake is moist but not overly so, and has just the right amount of richness to it. Mixed via the muffin method, it’s also a snap to prepare. The formula goes like this:

10.5 ounces (generous 2 cups) all-purpose flour, sifted
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ¼ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground clove
10.5 ounces (1 ½ cups) sugar
3.5 ounces (scant ½ cup) light brown sugar
9 ounces by weight (1 ¼ cups) canola oil
4 room-temperature eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 pound (3 cups) coarsely grated carrot
1 cup raisins or nuts (optional)

Before you begin, you’ll want to get two 9″ layer pans lined with parchment paper and lubricated (see this tutorial for more on that). Preheat your oven to 350.

Combine the flour, leavening, salt and spices in a medium bowl and whisk to combine them. Put the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle and beat for about a minute on medium speed until thoroughly combined. Add the dry ingredients all at once and beat on medium low another 30 seconds until the flour mixture just barely disappears. Add the carrots and stir them in (add the nuts or raisins at the same time if you’re using them). Scrape the batter into the prepared pans, you’ll have about 28 ounces in each layer. Bake 45-55 minutes until a knife inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the layers sit for ten minutes, then turn them out onto a parchment-covered rack to finish cooling, about an hour.

16 thoughts on “Carrot Cake Recipe”

  1. I love carrot cake. Usually I make a chocolate sauce to spread over it – it tastes very good.

  2. I have recently started using a metal strainer to sift my flour. I am excited to use the scale and metal bowl to weigh the flour, as you do in the recipe above, rather than measure my flour. However, I have been adding the other dry ingredients to the flour in the strainer and then use my whisk to “stir” them all together as the flour mixture falls through into the bowl. This way I don’t have to actually shake the flour through the strainer and I think it eliminates a little mess.

  3. Hi, what is leavening? sorry, for asking silly question. can i replace the flour with cake flour? thanks for your fantastic blog! i have been visiting your blog daily since discovering it just last week.

    1. Hi Mimi! That’s not a silly question at all. “Leavening” is whatever makes a baked thing rise. In the case of carrot cake it’s baking powder, but it can also be yeast or even just steam. I get that question a lot.

      As for using cake flour instead, I wouldn’t in this case. The reason is because of all the extra “stuff” that’s in a carrot cake. You need the gluten that’s in all-purpose flour to give the layers lift.

      And thanks for the very nice compliment! Please come back often, and ask me a question whenever you feel like it. I’m pretty much always around.

      – Joe

  4. Thanks Joe. Btw, if you can have the recipe in grams, it would be fantastic.. measurement in Malaysia is usually by grams…


    1. There are conversation tables under “Baking Basics”, Mimi, but I’ll see what I can do!

      – Joe

  5. Today I was looking for a nice recipe and I came up with your blog. What a beautiful textures in the Carrot Cake, I loved the light color in the cake. Can I make it in cupcake pan instead? God bless, from the Island of Puerto Rico.

    1. Hello Mercy!

      Very nice to hear from you and thank you for the kind compliment!

      You certainly can make this cake in cupcake form. They’re delicious! Cheers,

      – Joe

  6. Im obsessed with this blog! I’ve been making too many goodies lately I just can’t stop.

    I made this cake but added less sugar than what was called for because I’m going to be making this cake into cake pops for Easter.

    1. Hey Andrea!

      Thank you and welcome! So glad to hear that the recipes have been turning out well! Send a picture of the cake pops!


      – Joe

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