Carrot Layer Cake

By Shiran

This is the ultimate layered carrot cake. It’s incredibly moist, fluffy, and flavorful, and topped with the most amazing cream cheese frosting.

The ultimate layered carrot cake - incredibly moist, fluffy, and flavorful, and topped with the most amazing cream cheese frosting. | prettysimplesweet.com

My big 30 is right around the corner, and not surprisingly I’m celebrating with a piece of cake. Or 10. Not that I don’t do it any other day of the year, but at least on my birthday it’s considered acceptable and there’s no need destroy the evidence before anyone gets home. The celebrations officially start now with this all-star carrot cake!

If you just want a simple cake to serve with coffee or for breakfast, then try this carrot cake loaf that is sure to please you and your guests. But if you’re aiming for a little celebration or something a bit fancier, then this cake is the perfect choice.

The ultimate layered carrot cake - incredibly moist, fluffy, and flavorful, and topped with the most amazing cream cheese frosting. | prettysimplesweet.com

This cake tastes incredible. While it doesn’t taste like vegetables, you can pick up a slight carrot flavor—but in a totally good way. Those carrots are really what make this cake superb and moist. The cake is sweet with just the right touch of spice. I’ve loved it ever since I was a kid and my mom would lie to me about what ‘those orange things’ were.

There are quite a lot of carrots in this cake, but that’s a good thing! Plenty of carrots makes this cake moist and flavorful.

The ultimate layered carrot cake - incredibly moist, fluffy, and flavorful, and topped with the most amazing cream cheese frosting. | prettysimplesweet.com

What you’ll love most about this cake is that it’s super simple to make—no mixer involved! It just requires 2 bowls and some mixing, and you’re done. I used to think that layer cakes were extremely complicated, but as long as you have 2 9-inch cake pans that are 2-inches high (I recommend these ones), then it’s easy as pie. Or, easy as carrot cake.

For more simplicity, I usually don’t frost the sides of the cake but you can if you prefer. The recipe yields enough for that. On the other hand, if you only want to add frosting between the layers like I’ve done, then cut the recipe for it in half.

The ultimate layered carrot cake - incredibly moist, fluffy, and flavorful, and topped with the most amazing cream cheese frosting. | prettysimplesweet.com

Shredded or grated carrots? Now there’s a good question! When I made my first carrot cake, I processed the heck out of the carrots until they were almost juice. I didn’t even realize I was doing something wrong until after I tasted the cake. Yuck!

There are 2 different options for grating the carrots, and it’s just a matter of preference. I know that some prefer long shreds, while others prefer smaller or more finely grated pieces.

1) The quickest method would be using the shredding disc of your food processor. It yields large shreds of carrots, but they are cooked and softened during baking. If using this method, you’ll need about 3 cups of shredded carrots.

2) Use the grater box or a microplane grater for smaller pieces or more finely grated carrots. If using this method, you’ll need about 2.5 cups of grated carrots.

The ultimate layered carrot cake - incredibly moist, fluffy, and flavorful, and topped with the most amazing cream cheese frosting. | prettysimplesweet.com

Last tips:

  • If you don’t have brown sugar on hand, you can use just granulated sugar, 2 cups total. The brown sugar adds moisture and flavor, though, so it’s highly recommended.
  • You can replace ½ cup of the oil with ½ cup unsweetened applesauce or crushed pineapple.
  • Spices add a lot of flavor to carrot cake, but if you’re really not a fan of them, then I suggest at least not skipping the cinnamon.

If you love carrot cake, then I’d suggest trying these recipes next time you get a craving for something sweet:

the fluffiest, moistest banana bread
buttery blueberry muffins or blueberry scones
my favorite pineapple upside-down cake
juicy and crunchy peach crumb cake
super moist mango bread

5.0 from 1 reviews

Layered Carrot Cake
Yields: 2-layer 9-inch cake
 

This is the ultimate layered carrot cake. It’s incredibly moist, fluffy, and flavorful, and topped with the most amazing cream cheese frosting.
Ingredients
Cake:
  • 2¼ cups (315 g/11 oz) all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1⅛ cup (270 ml) canola oil (or vegetable, safflower)
  • 1 cup (200 g/7 oz) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (200 g/7 oz) light or dark brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 350 g/12.5 oz grated fresh carrots* (about 6 medium carrots)
  • 1 cup (100 g/3.5 oz) pecans or walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup raisins, currants, or shredded coconut, optional
Cream Cheese Frosting (enough to frost the sides of the cake*):
  • 450 g/16 oz full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • ½ cup (1 stick/115 g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 cups (230 g) powdered sugar, sifted, plus more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Generously butter 2 9-inch cake pans. You can line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper for easy removal later on.
  2. To make the cake: In a large bowl, place flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Mix until combined. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together oil, sugars, eggs, and vanilla extract until smooth. Add the egg mixture into the flour mixture and mix just until combined and smooth. Don’t overmix. Fold in the carrots, nuts, and raisins.
  4. Scrape batter into prepared pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs. Allow to cool for 15 minutes, then run a knife along the edges of the pan for easy release. Invert the cakes onto a wire rack and let cool completely.
  5. The cake layers can be wrapped tight with plastic wrap and frozen for up to 2 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge before using.
  6. To make the frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk or paddle attachment, beat butter and cream cheese on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add sugar in 2 additions, beating well after each addition until smooth. Add vanilla extract and beat for about another 2 minutes on high speed until completely smooth. If the frosting is too runny, add more sugar as necessary until you reach the desired consistency. You can add a pinch of salt or lemon juice to cut the sweetness (although I don’t find it necessary for this cake since it isn’t too sweet).
  7. Frosting can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. It doesn’t freeze well. Before using, bring to room temperature and whisk by hand for a few seconds until smooth.
  8. Assembling the cake: Set one layer on a plate with the flat side facing up (or, optionally, if your cake rose too much, cut its rounded top with a knife to make it flat). Evenly spread about ⅓ of the frosting over the cake to the edge. Top with the second cake layer, rounded side up. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake.
  9. Store cake in the fridge for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Notes
* If using large shreds of carrot, you’ll need about 3 cups, and if using small pieces or finely grated carrots, you’ll need about 2.5 cups.

* You can half the recipe of the cream cheese frosting if you only want to use it between the layers and not the sides of the cake (like you see in the photos).

 

The ultimate layered carrot cake - incredibly moist, fluffy, and flavorful, and topped with the most amazing cream cheese frosting. | prettysimplesweet.com

33 Comments on Carrot Layer Cake

  1. Joan Hayes
    July 17, 2015 at 3:17 pm (2 years ago)

    I love carrot cake, and yours is so beautiful! And happy early birthday! 🙂

    Reply
    • Shiran
      July 18, 2015 at 6:56 am (2 years ago)

      Thank you so much Joan! That’s so sweet of you! 🙂

      Reply
  2. Oana
    July 17, 2015 at 5:15 pm (2 years ago)

    Carrot cake is one of the biggest surprised I experienced in the culinary world – it totally blew my mind with its taste the first time that I made it. And yours looks incredible!

    Reply
    • Shiran
      July 18, 2015 at 6:58 am (2 years ago)

      I know, it’s so good! Thank you so much Oana! 🙂

      Reply
    • Shiran
      July 18, 2015 at 6:55 am (2 years ago)

      Thank you Thalia! 🙂

      Reply
    • Shiran
      July 20, 2015 at 3:50 am (2 years ago)

      I did 🙂 Thank you so much Aimee!!

      Reply
  3. Winnie
    July 20, 2015 at 2:08 pm (1 year ago)

    עוגה נהדרת, ואצלי כולם (כולל כל האחיינים – ויש הרבה) אוהבים עוגת גזר כזאת.
    משום מה הם מעדיפים ללא הקרם, אבל אני אוהבת את הקרם הזה 🙂

    Reply
  4. Beeta @ Mon Petit Four
    July 20, 2015 at 5:01 pm (1 year ago)

    What a stunning cake! It looks so incredibly moist, and how wonderful that it’s a 2-bowl affair. And that cream cheese frosting looks absolutely luscious and perfect!!

    Reply
    • Shiran
      July 21, 2015 at 10:30 am (1 year ago)

      Thank you so much, Beeta!

      Reply
  5. Sarah | Drool-Worthy
    July 21, 2015 at 11:24 pm (1 year ago)

    Carrot cake makes the best birthday cake! This looks so fluffy and wonderful 🙂

    Reply
    • Shiran
      July 22, 2015 at 10:41 am (1 year ago)

      Thank you, Sarah! 🙂

      Reply
  6. Jess @ whatjessicabakednext
    July 24, 2015 at 10:15 am (1 year ago)

    This carrot layer cake is stunning, Shiran! Your recipes always look so beautiful! Carrot cake is one of my favourite cakes and this looks like the perfect bake to celebrate your birthday with! 😀 Pinning to try soon!

    Reply
    • Shiran
      July 25, 2015 at 7:55 am (1 year ago)

      Thank you so much, Jess! 🙂

      Reply
  7. cookies4me
    August 23, 2015 at 1:13 pm (1 year ago)

    Could you scale down the recipe for 6″ cake pan size? I am thrilled with your white cake recipe. My carrot cake recipe makes three 9″ layers which in turn makes 4 6″ cakes. As a twosome we can’t eat that much. I love carrot cake but once a year is fine. Thanks

    Reply
    • Shiran
      August 24, 2015 at 11:13 am (1 year ago)

      Hi! For a 6-inch cake I think you can make half of this recipe, but if you want, I suggest you to bake it in a loaf pan and use this recipe which makes a smaller cake (that can be frozen without the frosting).

      Reply
  8. Angela
    January 4, 2016 at 8:34 am (1 year ago)

    Hi Shiran!! I love carrot layer cakes especially with cream cheese frosting!! I was planning to try out this recipe for my mom’s 35th b’ day. Is it possible to omit the addition of chopped nuts and cloves in the cake sponge??

    Reply
    • Shiran
      January 4, 2016 at 10:03 am (1 year ago)

      Hi Angela! Yes, you can omit the nuts and cloves. I hope you like it and happy birthday! 🙂

      Reply
  9. Angela
    January 5, 2016 at 1:25 am (1 year ago)

    Thanks a bunch, Shiran!! 😉

    Reply
  10. Diane Swanson
    January 8, 2016 at 11:54 am (1 year ago)

    Hi Shiran, Could you tell me how to scale this recipe down for two 8-inch round pans. Thank you for your help.

    Reply
    • Shiran
      January 9, 2016 at 4:06 pm (1 year ago)

      Hi Diane! You’ll need to decrease the recipe by 25% (meaning 3/4 of each ingredient, for example 3 eggs instead of 4). If it’s easier for you, you can also use the recipe as is and use the leftover batter for muffins.

      Reply
  11. Nour
    February 4, 2016 at 9:00 am (12 months ago)

    Excellent recipe, tried it my self and everyone loved it. Thanks for sharing

    Reply
    • Shiran
      February 4, 2016 at 4:38 pm (12 months ago)

      Thank you so much! 🙂

      Reply
  12. Claudia
    March 26, 2016 at 5:32 pm (10 months ago)

    Made this today – and as promised it was fluffy and moist!! Yum!!!! I’d had a bad recipe before so was really anxious about this one but so glad I followed it – amazing!!
    I love that you give weights – so important when you want serious accuracy. Made half the recipe and baked it in a glass loaf dish – perfect! Thank you for sharing. 🙂

    Reply
    • Shiran
      March 27, 2016 at 4:29 am (10 months ago)

      So glad it turned out great! Thank you so much for your comment, Claudia! 🙂

      Reply
  13. Tanisha
    April 12, 2016 at 2:31 am (9 months ago)

    Simply amazing!! And m sure this will taste as yumm as your carrot loaf!!!
    If I want to make 1 9″ then shud I just half the recipe??

    Reply
    • Shiran
      April 14, 2016 at 3:59 am (9 months ago)

      Thank you Tanisha 🙂 If you want a tall cake, use the recipe as is, and bake it in a 9-inch pan that’s 3-inch deep, or use a 10-inch pan. Baking time will be longer (an hour, or even more, but start checking after 45 minutes just to be sure). Or, you can decrease the recipe by 25% (meaning 3/4 of each ingredient, for example 3 eggs instead of 4).

      Reply
  14. Gwen
    October 25, 2016 at 10:15 am (3 months ago)

    Can i double the ingredients to make a bigger cake. My son is getting married and they want a carrot cake for a wedding cake. It must be for 60 people

    Reply
    • Shiran
      October 30, 2016 at 5:14 am (3 months ago)

      Hi Gwen, congratulations to you and your son! What size of pan do you want to use to make the cake?

      Reply
  15. Gwen
    October 30, 2016 at 9:33 am (3 months ago)

    I think a 20″ and a 27″
    Will that be enough for 60 people

    Reply
    • Shiran
      October 30, 2016 at 10:38 am (3 months ago)

      I don’t make large wedding cakes, so I can’t say for sure what is enough for 60 people or how to multiply the ingredients, but you can easily find this information online.

      Reply
      • Gwen
        November 1, 2016 at 8:36 am (3 months ago)

        Thanks so much Shiran. I will have a look online

        Reply

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