There are people out there who don’t like carrot cake, but we don’t know what they’re thinking. While it may not be the prettiest cake you’ll ever lay eyes on, (and yes, its main ingredient is a root vegetable) carrot cake is as flavorful and delicious as the day is long. It’s been around for eons, which means that there has been plenty of opportunity for carrot cake recipes to be tweaked and perfected over time. Like this one here. It’s our go-to carrot cake recipe. Moist and speckled with flavorful bites of carrot, pineapple, spice, and nuts, we think it’s just about perfect.
Carrot cake evolved from carrot pudding, which dates all the way back to the Middle Ages. Of course, it was a much different dessert than the one we know now, but inventive cooks have been using carrots in baked goods for centuries. They provided moisture and sweetness when sugar and other baking staples were hard to come by. Carrot cake hails from England and was probably brought over to the United States after WWII.
From there, it became popular throughout the country and developed sort of a following because it was thought of as a “health conscious” cake. We don’t know about that… it does have veggies, fruits, and nuts, but it still has sugar and oil and usually some pretty amazing frosting too. But, hey, whatever gets you to sleep at night.
Speaking of frosting, nothing goes with carrot cake like cream cheese frosting. They’re the perfect pair. You can find our favorite Cream Cheese Frosting recipe here.
Carrot cake may have its critics, but we love it through and through. A little bit chewy, a lot delicious… it’s funny because it’s really not about the carrots at all. It’s about the spice and the sweetness and the chewy quality that other cakes don’t have. The ingredients work together to make one tasty unique dessert. It’s a cake of synergy!
Serves 6-8; 45 minutes
- 3 cups carrots, finely shredded
- 8 ounces crushed pineapple, drained
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 4 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Preheat oven to 350°F and lightly grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, allspice, and nutmeg. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the oil and white and brown sugars and beat with an electric mixer on medium until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add orange zest and vanilla and continue beating until light and fluffy.
- Slowly add in the flour mixture, beating until batter is even and smooth. Fold in carrots, pineapple, and walnuts and pour batter into the prepared pans.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool for 5-10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Adorn with your favorite cream cheese frosting and enjoy!
Adapted from "Mom's Best Desserts" by Andrea Chesman and Fran Raboff.