This most popular cake has so many recipe variations! In my early years of baking, carrot cake was my most often botched cake. It all comes down to method, pan size (and add-ins), and trust me, these things really matter!
Method, Pan Size and Optional Additions
There are a lot of recipes out there that call for blending the sugar and oil, and then adding the eggs one by one. There are many that ask you to blend the eggs til they are thick and foamy and then add the oil and sugar. In both of these cases, the risk is that the sugar won’t fully integrate, leaving a top crust on the cake. My best carrot cake results from the method of blending the eggs for what feels like FOREVER until they are thick and foamy. Then, I add the oil very slowly, followed by the dry ingredients and the carrots. One thing I’ve also learned – if a recipe calls for nuts and raisins but doesn’t say they are optional then the cake will NOT turn out well without these things. If it is listed as optional, you know that you can make the recipe without them. The recipe I used here actually calls for two 9″ pans. I’ve tried it that way, but I think that the cakes bake too thin so one of the changes I’ve made to the recipe is to use 8″ pans.
This video takes you through the step by step process of making an 8″ carrot cake. I yada yada over the frosting part (let’s save that for another post) but you can see what the ingredients look like at each step of the way in the video. Don’t want to spend a minute and 30 seconds of your life watching the video? That’s ok. There’s also a picture step by step below this followed by the recipe.
A Picture “How to” for Carrot Cake
The most delicious way to eat your carrots! This recipe is modified from the recipe my cake baker used for my wedding cake.
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 3/4 cup canola oil
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 3 cups grated carrots, (apx 1 lb before peeling and cutting off ends)
- 2/3 cup chopped roasted pecans, optional
- 1/2 cup raisins or golden raisins, optional
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees (325 degrees for convection). Line two 8" pans with parchment. [TEMP]
- Beat eggs until thick and foamy (5 minutes). Add oil slowly and beat well. [BEAT]
- Combine all the dry ingredients in a separate bowl.[COMBINE]
- Add to egg and oil mixture and mix well. Gently blend in the carrots and any optional ingredients.[ADD]
- Pour into pans and bake for 35-40 minutes, until a tester comes out clean.[BAKE]
- Cool completely in the pans. When fully cool, use a knife around the edge of the pan and then turn out onto a work surface. Use a serrated knife to split one of the layers in half so that your finished cake will have 3 layers of cake and 2 layers of filling. For frosting lovers, split both layers in half. Fill and frost with cream cheese frosting.[COOL]