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Southern-Style Classic Carrot Cake

Our secret ingredient in the frosting makes ALL the difference!

When it comes to cakes, it doesn’t get that much more classic than a good, old-fashioned carrot cake. We love chocolate cake, lemon cake or a nice yellow cake, but sometimes you just have to be bold and go for a cream cheese frosting-laden carrot cake. Once you’ve landed on the fact that you’re whipping up a deliciously decadent carrot cake the real fun begins….

Apart from carrots, obviously, what goes into a southern-style carrot cake you ask? Well, we’re skipping the pineapple and coconut and sticking with raisins on the inside and walnuts on the outside. A balance of both worlds, if you will. What you can also count on to be delicious absolutely every time is the unparalleled frosting we use here. Yes, it’s a cream cheese frosting, but we add secret ingredient into the mix that really takes things to the next level. Sour cream. Yep, it’s tangy and tart, and it adds the smoothest finish to the cream cheese – seriously, you’ll try it and be hooked from the get-go!

This is too good to pass up, so if you’ve got something special planned in the next week, let this be the recipe that steals the show. Everyone will love it and you’ll have a new go-to carrot cake that’ll have everyone begging you for the recipe, you’ll see!

Serves 10-12

1 hour

Rated 5 out of 5
Rated by 2 reviewers
  • Cake:
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups carrots, peeled and grated
  • 3/4 cup raisins, optional
  • walnuts, chopped, optional
  • Frosting:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream, optional
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar, until desired consistency is reached
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350º and line two 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper, or grease with butter or non-stick spray.
  2. Begin working on cake by mixing flour, sugars (white and brown), cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl or mixer.
  3. In a separate, medium bowl, beat together eggs, oil and vanilla extract until fully combined, then stir mixture into dry ingredients.
  4. Once batter has come together, gently fold in carrots and raisins, then pour mixture evenly into prepared cake pans.
  5. Place cake pans in oven and bake for 22-27 minutes, rotating halfway through, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out mostly clean.
  6. Remove cakes from oven and let cool completely.
  7. While cakes cool, beat butter, cream cheese and sour cream together until combined and fluffy.
  8. Add in powdered sugar, vanilla extract and salt, beating until fully incorporated and smooth.
  9. Spread 2-3 tablespoons frosting on cake stand or serving platter, then place first cake down. Use about 2/3 cup frosting and spread evenly over cake.
  10. Top with second cake and use remaining frosting to coat top and sides evenly.
  11. Optional: sprinkle chopped walnuts over cake for decoration.
  12. Store in an air-tight container or serve immediately. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Amy In The Kitchen

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