Classic Carrot Cake Recipe
The sweetest way we can think of to eat your vegetables.
Photo by Heami Lee
Prep: 20 minutes
Total: 1 ½ hours
for the cake:
1 cup|100 grams walnuts, roughly chopped
¾ cup|187 ml vegetable oil, plus more for greasing
2 cups|280 grams all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup|200 grams granulated sugar
1 cup|185 grams light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs plus one egg yolk, room temperature
1 orange, zested and juiced
½ cup|175 grams candied orange peel, chopped into 1 cm pieces
4 cups grated carrots (about 5 large carrots)
for the frosting:
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup|225 grams unsalted butter, cubed and softened
3 cups|380 grams confectioners’ sugar
1. Make the cake: Heat oven to 350°F. Place half of the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast until nutty and lightly golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Set aside to cool.
2. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans with oil and line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper.
3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.
4. In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup oil, granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, the eggs, and the orange zest and juice until fully combined. Add the chopped candied orange peel and the grated carrots and mix well. Stir in the walnuts that are not toasted.
5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined, taking care not to overmix the batter.
6. Pour the cake batter evenly between both prepared cake pans. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the tops of the cakes are set and start to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted into the center of each comes out clean. Remove from oven, transfer to a wire rack, and allow to cool in the pans for about 25 minutes. Once the cakes have cooled to the touch, run the backside of a butter knife along the sides of the pan to loosen cake, remove cake from the pans. Return the cakes wire rack to cool completely.
7. Make the frosting: Using a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment or large mixing bowl with a hand-held mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth, then add the butter and mix for an additional minute until well combined and smooth. Add the powdered sugar and mix on low until just combined, then increase the speed to medium and mix until creamy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
8. Assemble the cake: Level the tops of the cakes as needed. Place one of the cakes on a cake stand or plate, top with a little over ½ cup of frosting, and smooth out into an even layer. Place the second cake on top and use the remaining frosting to frost the top and sides of the cake. Place in the refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes to set the crumb layer on cake, make sure frosting is fully set before taking it out and decorating the sides of the cake with the toasted walnuts.