About This Moist Carrot Cake Recipe
Let’s talk carrots! It’s a simple ingredient that has often been associated with savory preparations. But the carrot cake is what makes this root vegetable truly shine! It’s a delicate dessert with an unmistakable taste — loved by everyone, adults and children alike.
The practice of using carrots in sweet recipes is ancient. Given their natural sweetness, carrots can compensate for the lack of sugar and add a lot of flavor to cakes.
Food historians suggest that carrots were first used in desserts in the Middle Ages because honey and sugar were often scarce and expensive. After sugar beet, carrot is the sweetest vegetable — and evidently, it was easier to find.
Today, the popularity of a basic homemade carrot cake derives mainly from the success of the more elaborate Anglo-Saxon type of carrot cake.
But what I love most about this version is its genuine simplicity, which makes it the perfect dessert for the whole family!
This moist cake full of grated carrots and roasted crunchy walnuts is layered with a sweet and tangy cream cheese frosting. The tiny flecks of grated carrot impart an excellent orange hue and a rich and moist texture to the cake, but their flavor is almost imperceptible.
Carrot cake is a particularly versatile recipe that lends itself well to different variations and is suitable for any occasion, from special events to tasty afternoon snacks.
What You Need for This Healthy Carrot Cake Recipe
- Carrots: I always like to hand-grate my carrots because it gives a nice texture to the cake and helps to keep it moist. You can also use your food processor to grate the carrots or simply buy pre-grated ones, but if they are too dry, they won’t hold enough moisture and the cake may be a little too dry.
- Flour: I have used plain/all-purpose flour.
- Baking Powder & Baking Soda: I have used a mix of both to help the cake rise.
- Sunflower Oil: It helps keep the cake moist. The quantity used is just perfect without making the cake too oily.
- Light Brown Sugar: It adds a lovely hint of molasses flavor and keeps the cake light and moist.
- Eggs: They help give structure to the batter. Make sure they are at room temperature for better results.
- Walnuts: I have used walnuts for a touch of crunchiness and nutty flavor.
- Spices: I like to use a combination of cinnamon and mixed spices. It creates that lovely warming carrot cake flavor.
- Cream Cheese: I like to use full-fat cream cheese at room temperature for better results.
- Butter: I always like to use unsalted butter that’s at room temperature.
- Icing Sugar: It helps create a sweet and creamy frosting that can be spread easily.
- Orange: I like to add a little bit of orange zest in the cake batter and in the frosting for a bright zesty flavor.
- Flour: I like to use plain/all-purpose flour, but if you want a gluten-free version, you may use your favorite gluten-free flour blend.
- Oil: I usually use sunflower oil but any other neutral-flavored oil like canola oil would also work well.
- Brown Sugar: I like using brown sugar because it adds a little bit of molasses flavor but you can substitute it with white sugar.
- Walnuts: I have used walnuts but feel free to add pecans.
How do I make a moist carrot cake?
The oil and grated carrots help to make a moist cake. It is also important to measure the flour quantity correctly using a scale.
How can this carrot cake be stored?
If your kitchen is not too hot, you may keep this cake on the counter for one day. Otherwise, you may refrigerate it for 5 to 6 days.
Can I make cupcakes using this recipe?
Yes, you can. Just make sure you adjust the baking time. I suggest baking the cupcakes for 30 minutes and then trying the skewer test.
Homemade Carrot Cake
Simple, easy, and incredibly flavorful, this carrot cake recipe will make you fall in love with the simple vegetable!
Yield: 10 slices
For the frosting:
Optional for decoration:
How To Make This Simple Carrot Cake Step By Step
Preheat the oven to 150℃ (300℉) and line a baking tray with parchment paper. Spread the walnuts on the tray and toast for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them cool.
Peel and grate the carrots.
Preheat the oven to 180℃ (356℉). Grease an 18 cm (7 inches) springform pan and line the base with baking paper.
Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and mixed spices into a large bowl.
Add the sugar, zest from half orange, toasted walnuts, and grated carrots, and stir well.
Stir in the lightly beaten eggs and oil, and mix well. Pour it into the prepared cake tin. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour or until a skewer comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack, and let it cool completely before frosting.
In the meantime, prepare the frosting. Beat the butter in a large bowl with a handheld mixer until soft. Add the cream cheese and beat again until everything is well mixed. Sift the icing sugar, add the remaining orange zest, and beat again until smooth. Store the frosting covered in the fridge until needed.
Once the cake is thoroughly cooled, cut it carefully in half, then spread half of the frosting between the 2 layers of the cake and the other half on top.
Decorate if you wish with candied carrot curls, edible flowers, or orange zest strips (optional), and enjoy!
- I suggest measuring the flour using a scale for better results because adding too much flour can result in a dry cake.
- You can omit the walnuts if you don’t like them. But if you’re using them, I suggest not skipping the toasting.
- To better enjoy the excellent taste of the cake, I suggest spreading just a thin layer of frosting. After all, it is a carrot cake, so you want to savor the flavor of the carrots and spices like a warming hug.