Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting

This carrot cake is the first thing I’ve ever baked without adult supervision, and of the desserts I make, it remains my sister’s favorite. She asks me for the recipe about once a year, and I dutifully write it out each time, so this post is as much for my own convenience as it is for you.

For the cake-

2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg (or a smidgeon more, if you prefer a spicier cake)

1 ¼ cups apple sauce (if you don’t have apple sauce handy, or you just don’t like using it, you can substitute with the same proportion of yogurt or sour cream)

3-4 eggs (see what the consistency’s like after the apple sauce/yogurt/sour cream; you wouldn’t want it too watery. Alternatively, if you don’t want to use eggs, you can substitute half a mashed banana for every one egg.)

3 cups finely chopped carrots (I recommend a food processor for this)

if you like nuts in your cake, 4 oz of finely chopped walnuts, or whatever it is you go for; I leave this out

(you can also add in some lemon zest into the cake itself. Or orange zest, in a pinch.)


For the frosting-

~2 cups sugar. Now, you may want to use powdered sugar, which I never have in the house so I use a coffee bean grinder to convert my granulated sugar into powdered sugar. But sometimes I can’t be bothered, so I just use the granulated stuff.

8 oz cream cheese (room temp)

½ cup butter (room temp)

1 tsp vanilla extract

lemon zest


Preheat oven to 350 o F

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add in the apple sauce and the eggs (or whichever alternatives you’re using) as needed for consistency. You can, of course, always add more flour if the batter gets too runny, so don’t fret too much over it.

Fold in the carrots, and the nuts if you are using them.

Now, you can do this in layers, or one lump cake. If you’re doing layers, distribute the batter evenly between your (well-greased and floured) layer pans (2-3 should be fine; I wouldn’t do more than 3). I do the one lump cake (also in a greased and floured pan), mostly because I don’t own layer pans, and I’ve never felt like I was missing something vital.

Bake for 40-50 min, or until it done (depending on whether you’ve had to add flour, or the consistency, it may be longer). As always, I go for the clean toothpick check. When it’s done, let it cool in the pan for ~10 min, then turn out on a cooling rack (or a large plate works too) to let cool completely.

While you’re waiting for the cake, you can make the frosting. I recommend a mixer for this because I am lazy, but it will turn out just fine if you don’t use one.

In a medium bowl, mix in your butter, cream cheese, vanilla extract, and whatever type of sugar you’ve decided to use. Beat or mix until it’s creamy. Grate lemon zest and mix again. Store in fridge until cake is ready to be frosted.

Once the cake is cool enough, and your frosting is ready, spread the latter on the former, and ta da!

carrot cake 03.22.15

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