Saturday Recipe: Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Last weekend I made a carrot cake for our family’s Easter celebration.  I’ve made carrot cake before, but this one for me was one of the best I’ve made. 

People have different preferences when it comes to carrot cake.  Some are puritans — carrots, some spices, and that’s it.  Others prefer gobs of fillers — raisins, walnuts, coconut or pineapple.  I fall into the latter category.

I just love the way the plump raisins, the tart pineapple, the sweet coconut and the crunchy walnuts add texture and little pops of flavor amidst the dense, cinnamony spicy flavor of the cake.  And all this amidst the tangy, creamy sweet frosting.  Mmmm, it’s like a party in your mouth.

And don’t even get me started on the cream cheese frosting.  Cream cheese.  Butter.  Confectioners Sugar.  What’s not to love?  Pure heavenly goodness.

Ugh, right now I’m really wishing I hadn’t given the rest of the cake to Chad to take to work.

I did get this recipe from Allrecipes, so I do need to give credit to them, but I did make some minor changes, so while I credit them, the recipe I’m giving to you has my changes. 

And for once I remembered to take pictures while I was making it instead of when I was done, so you get to see my work in progress.  Yeah!!

Now before you even start thinking about making the cake, you’ll want to do a few things.  First, be sure to leave your 8 ounces of cream cheese and 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter on the counter to come to room temperature.  Otherwise your frosting will not come together very well.  I recommend leaving them out overnight.  It’s okay, you can do that.  No one will die from food poisoning, I promise.

Now just a few hours before making the cake, you’ll want to drain a 20 oz. can of pineapple into a strainer, reserving the juice.  Add 1 cup of raisins to the reserved juice and let them soak until plump.  Keep it all in the fridge until you’re ready to make the cake.

When you are ready to make the cake, start by greasing and flouring two 8 inch pans.  I just sprayed generously with cooking spray, put a bit of flour in and shook it around until it all was coated evenly, then dumped out the remaining flour.

Then put 1/2 a tablespoon of lemon juice in a measuring cup.  Add enough milk to make 3/4 cup.

Next sift together 2 cups of flour, 2 teaspoons of baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon.

Next combine 3 eggs, milk with lemon juice, 3/4 cup oil, 1 1/2 cups of sugar and 2 teaspoons of vanilla and mix well.

Then combine flour mixture and liquid mixture together.

In yet another bowl combine 2 cups of shredded carrots (and NOT the matchstick looking shredded carrots you can buy pre-packaged; do shred yourself, it’s worth the extra effort), the drained pineapple, the marinated raisins, 1 cup chopped walnuts and 1 cup coconut.

Pour evenly between the two 8 inch pans.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes before removing from the pan. 

This step is important.  I tried to turn one of the cakes out too early and ended up with part of the cake stuck in the pan.  I salvaged it, but you can see in this picture my attempt to piece it together.  Thank goodness for frosting.

Now things really get good.  Now it’s time to make the frosting.

First blend together very well the 8 ounces of cream cheese and 1/2 cup butter.  I use a hand mixer to do this.  Get it nice and fluffy.

Next sift in about 4 cups of confectioners (powdered) sugar.  You can use less if you like a tangier frosting, but I like mine kinda sweet.

Add in about 1 teaspoon of vanilla and beat until smooth and creamy.

Mmmmmmmmmmmm.  Stop drooling.

Quit poking your computer.  No matter how much you try the frosting is not going to magically leap onto your finger. 

Place the bottom layer on your serving plate.  Cut off strips of wax or parchment paper and line around the bottom.  That way you won’t get frosting all over your pretty plate.

Then frost the bottom layer of cake.  I frosted the sides too, but in retrospect it would have been easier just to frost the top then do the sides all at once after putting the top layer on.

Then add the top layer and frost it too, as well as the sides.  Take out wax paper and voila!  Beautiful carrot cake.  I admit I’m not the world’s best froster (is that even a word? It is now.).  But in all honesty, who cares?  It tastes so yummy, no one will care what it looks like.

The one picture I didn’t get is a slice of the cake.  I cut it over at my in-laws house and totally forgot amidst the kids and the craziness.  I wish I had, it looked fab.u.lous.

And just to make you a bit more jealous, I had leftover frosting, which is going to go on top of the cinnamon rolls I made last week, froze half off and thawed out to bake this morning.  Mmmmmmmmmm………

Here is the summary recipe.  If you make it, please let me know how it turns out for you! 

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Cake:

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 TBPS lemon juice with milk added to make 3/4 cup
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained but reserve the juice
  • 1 cup raisins

Directions

  1. Hours before starting, drain the pineapple in a strainer.  Add the raisins to the pineapple juice and let them soak until plump.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 8″ round cake pans
  3. Mix lemon juice and milk mixture and set aside for about 10 minutes.
  4. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
  5. In a large bowl, combine eggs, milk with lemon juice, oil, sugar and vanilla. Mix well. Add flour mixture and mix well.
  6. In a medium bowl, combine shredded carrots, coconut, walnuts, pineapple and raisins.
  7. Using a large wooden spoon or a very heavy whisk, add carrot mixture to batter and fold in well.
  8. Pour into prepared pans and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 40 minutes. Check with toothpick.  Toothpick will come out clean if cake is done.
  9. Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before serving.

Frosting:

Ingredients

  • 1 – 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 Directions
  1. In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the confectioners’ sugar. Store in the refrigerator after use.
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2 responses

  1. LeeAnn! I love your blog…..I think you are going to be famous someday and be the next “Pioneer Woman!” Rhea Drummond! My girls and I love her! I see you on Food Network with your little family helping you bake good stuff!! We’ll leave Chad out!!! haha!! Enjoy your life! You are awesome!! By the way…have you been on any CRHP retreats at Ascension?

  2. Yum, Yum, and YUM!!! Carrot cake has been on my “develop a recipe” for list and this may be the motivation I need. (I really hate to bake, you don’t realize you’ve messed it up until it is too late!) The pineapple think sounds very interesting… Thanks for sharing!!!

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