Can I just share a little secret about myself? I am obsessed with figuring out a perfect recipe. I have been known to make the same cake three different ways just to try to find that combination of perfection. So far I have not had any complaints from my family and friends as they reap the benefit of my obsession with experimenting with recipes.
In a quest to find a perfect carrot cake recipe, I made three different carrot cakes during the week of Easter. I actually spent some time studying the history of the carrot cake. Did you know that no one really knows where carrot cake came from? It looks like it did evolve from the Carrot Pudding of medieval times, during the middle ages when sugar and other sweeteners were difficult or expensive to come by in Britain and carrots had long been used as sugar substitutes. Who knew right?
Also after studying recipes, I found there is a great debate among cooks as to what makes the perfect carrot cake. Pineapple or raisins? Oil or applesauce? Walnuts or pecans? Oil or butter? The variations are mind-blowing.
For some reason, I tend to only really make carrot cake around the Easter season. I don’t really know why that is except for maybe the Easter bunny eats carrots and I only think of the Easter bunny eating carrots at Easter. Okay maybe that is not the reason, however my Easter dessert menu quite does often includes carrot cake.
My son-in-law, David Cox, is my number “1” taste tester as he loves desserts. He and his Dad, Wayne, ate (more than 1 piece) and gave me their votes for best cake and best icing. We all agreed (yes, my entire family eats and votes), that we liked a certain cake better but the icing from a totally different cake.
So after testing, reconfiguring and re-tasting, I believe I found the combination for a perfect carrot cake. This carrot cake sets the standard for carrot cakes everywhere. Most of its flavor comes from the brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, pineapple and carrots.
Through trial and error, I came to the following conclusions: most importantly, the secret for a super moist carrot cake is to shred whole carrots at home. Do not use packaged pre-shredded carrots because they are hard and dry. You need about 4 large carrots for this recipe. And when you grate them yourself, you will notice how wet they are. Freshly shredded carrots, adds an additional layer of moisture to your baked cake and you don’t want to skip it!
Secondly, for a perfectly flavored cake, make your cake a day or two ahead. If made ahead, the flavor intensifies and the cream cheese frosting seeps into the layers, creating a perfectly yummy carrot cake. One of the best parts about a carrot cake is that it gets better with time, even after 1 full day. I like to make the cake layers two days in advance and frost the cake one day in advance.
And one of my favorite things about the carrot cake is the cream cheese frosting. To me, the frosting is almost the best part of the cake. Carrot cake just isn’t carrot cake without the pairing of cream cheese frosting and this frosting is fool-proof, light and creamy, and compliments the cake flavors perfectly.
Additionally, make sure you keep the cake is covered in the refrigerator to avoid the cake drying out. Right before serving the cake you can bring the cake to room temperature, if desired.
The cream cheese frosting in this recipe is almost a double batch of frosting just because my family loves frosting. If you are not a big fan of frosting, please feel free to cut the ingredients in half.
I hope you enjoy making this cake, it is ridiculously delicious. Your friends and family will be so impressed that it is It is 100% made from scratch. And best of all it is easy to make, versatile and utterly delicious. I mean what is better that a extremely moist delicious carrot cake made with the perfect balance of spices, extra moist from buttermilk and crushed pineapple, and slathered in delicious cream cheese frosting?
Best Ever Super Moist Carrot CakeCourse: DessertCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
This amazing super yummy carrot cake with cream cheese frosting is going to be your new family favorite!
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup light brown sugar , firmly packed
1 cup oil ,vegetable or canola oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
4 large eggs , room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup crushed pineapple
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 cups carrots , finely grated (about 4 carrots)
1 cup of pecans or walnuts (optional)
- CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
16 ounces full fat cream cheese, softened
2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons of vanilla
5 cups of powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two 8 inch cake pans by lightly coating with cooking spray (Baker’s Secret) and lining with parchment paper on the bottom.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt and nutmeg until well blended.
- In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, buttermilk, and vanilla together in a large bowl.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until incorporated.
- Fold in the carrots, pecans and pineapple until evenly distributed throughout the batter.
- Divide the batter equally between the prepared cake pans. Bake until the tops of the cake layers are springy when touched and when a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes.
- Allow cakes to cool in pans for 15 minutes before inverting them onto a wire rack to cool completely. then turn out onto cooling racks, peel off parchment paper and cool completely. (If you find that a cake layer is stuck to the bottom of the pan, leave the cake pan upside down and until gravity kicks in).
- CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
- Place room temperature cream cheese, butter, and vanilla into mixer and blend for 1-2 minutes on medium until fully incorporated. It is very important that your cream cheese and butter are room temperature. If your cream cheese and butter are cold it will be lumpy and those lumps are impossible to get out! Trust me been there and done that.
- Add powdered sugar (one cup at a time) until frosting is light and creamy.
- Whip frosting for an additional 3-5 minutes or until light and fluffy.
- Cover cake in frosting and enjoy!
- And it is important that your cream cheese and butter are room temperature. If your cream cheese is chilled it will be lumpy and those lumps are impossible to get out!
- Make sure that you are using full-fat brick cream cheese, not low fat or spreadable cream cheese (which is usually sold in a tub rather than in brick form). If you do not use full fat cream cheese your frosting my be thin and runny.
- Super important when baking is to use pure vanilla extract. No imitation stuff please. To take it up even a notch more, invest in high quality pure vanilla extract. One of my favorites is Penzeys vanilla. I am telling you…it might cost a bit more but it will make all the difference in your baked goods.
- I always like to use unsalted butter in all my frostings.