My Favorite Carrot Cake Recipe

I remember the first time I made a carrot cake for my family. I think it was my 16th birthday, and I wanted to make something from scratch, something other than a simple vanilla cake. I had found a carrot cake recipe, which I thought was very exotic, and served it up to my willing cake testers. I got some suspicious looks when I told them this was a cake containing carrot, but to my relief, it was a great success! I am now asked to make this carrot cake quite often, for birthdays for example, and it has become a “Christmas classic”!

I suppose for the seasoned carrot cake eater, this recipe isn’t exactly special. I mean, it has all the basic carrot cake ingredients, carrots, nuts, ginger cinnamon.. But the ratios are just perfect and will make a perfectly moist and tasty carrot cake. It’s a cake no-one can resist!
I have adapted this recipe from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook, one of my favorite sources when it comes to American style recipes. The original recipe calls for the baking of three separate layers in a smaller tin, whereas I have used a larger tin and I bake all the batter in one go. I mean, the run-off-the-mill homebaker doesn’t typically have three tins of the same size (I assume, at least). I’ve also used less frosting (okay, just a bít less). That being said, you can adapt this to your own wishes! Use pecans instead of walnuts, more frosting, less frosting, or a smaller tin. Just be aware you will probably have to change the baking time in the latter case! I hope you’ll enjoy this recipe as much as so many in my family have done!

My Favorite Carrot Cake Recipe

Adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook

Tools: round springform pan 24cm in diameter, bottom lined with baking parchment; grater



300   gr light brown sugar
3       large eggs
300   ml sunflower oil
300   gr plain flour
1       teaspoon baking soda
1       teaspoon baking powder
1       teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2    teaspoon ground ginger
1/4    teaspoon vanilla extract
300    gr carrots, grated
100    gr shelled walnuts, chopped roughly + extra for decorating (or finely if you prefer; I                                                                              roast the walnuts, but this is optional)


450    gr icing sugar 
75      gr unsalted butter, at room temperature
190    gr cream cheese, cold
green and orange food coloring (optional)

1. Pre-heat the oven to 170C. Grease and line the bottom of your tin with baking parchment. 

2.  Mix sugar, eggs and oil in a freestanding mixer with paddle attachment on low-medium speed (or use a handheld electric whisk) until combined. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and ginger in a separate bowl, and add this, two tablespoons at a time, to the mixture while the machine is running. Scrape the bowl halfway through. Add the vanilla extract and mix until combined. Lastly, stir in the carrots and walnuts by hand (don’t use your mixer). 

3. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 60-65 minutes. It could take a little longer or shorter in your oven, it should be done when a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

4. Once baked, leave the cake to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack (with baking parchment still at the bottom) to cool completely.

5. To make the frosting, mix the icing sugar and butter on low-medium speed (with paddle attachment if using freestanding mixer). The result should be a crumbly mixture. Then add the cream cheese in one go and beat on medium-high speed for about 5 minutes. Don’t overbeat as the icing can go runny.

6. Once the cake has cooled, cut into two layers horizontally and spread icing on the bottom layer. Assemble the cake and frost the outside as preferred. I kept a little icing aside, colored it green and orange and piped little carrots on the top. You could also use cinnamon and walnuts to decorate. Go creative! 🙂

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