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+ servings
slice of carrot cake on a plate with a fork

Best Moist Carrot Cake

5 from 2 votes
Created by Mariam E.
Delicious and moist, this homemade Carrot Cake is packed with flavor and full of freshly grated carrots. Lightly spiced with warming spices like nutmeg and cinnamon then topped with a fluffy cream cheese frosting.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12

Ingredients

For the Carrot Cake Layers

  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp dried orange peel or fresh if dry is not available.
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cup light or dark brown sugar or use organic cane sugar
  • 1 cup melted coconut oil not hot
  • 1 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups tightly packed freshly grated carrots about 2-3 large carrots
  • 2 cups chopped pecans toasted (1 cup for the cake batter, 1 cup to garnish)

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 16 oz cream cheese
  • 1 cup room temperature unsalted butter 2 sticks
  • 1 cup powdered sugar scooped and then sifted
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt optional

Instructions

The Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • Grease the bottom of two 8” pans with baking grease or spray with baking spray.
  • In a large bowl whisk together all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ground nutmeg, ground cinnamon, dried orange peel. Set aside.
  • In a separate bowl mix together eggs and sugar. Add applesauce, oil, vanilla.
  • Add dry mixture to liquid mixture and mix with the spatula to incorporate. Add carrots and 1 cup of pecans and mix to incorporate.
  • Divide the batter in between the two pans evenly.
  • Flatten out the tops.
  • Bake in the middle oven rack, for about 25-35 minutes until the toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Let the cake layers cool in the pan for 20 minutes. Gently run a spatula along the sides of the pan to loosen up the cake. Transfer the cake layer onto the cooling rag to cool completely.
  • Discard the dome, if any.
  • Slice horizontally each baked cake into two even cake layers. We will need 4 even cake layers.

The Cream Cheese Frosting

  • In a bowl of a stand mixer place butter and salt and whisk on high until pale/white in color and enlarged in volume. Transfer the batter into another bowl and set aside.
  • Into the same mixing bowl that you just whisked the butter (no need to wash it) place cream cheese and whisk on high until soft and smooth, add powdered sugar, and whisk again. Add reserved, whipped butter, and whisk to incorporate. Add vanilla and lemon juice and whisk to incorporate.
  • Start frosting cooled cake right away.

Assembly

  • You can assemble it in a cake ring or straight onto the cake platter, cake board.
  • Divide the frosting into 4 equal parts.
  • Place one cake layer onto a serving dish or a cake stand. Spread ¼ of the frosting. Even out with the spatula.
  • Place second cake layer and spread a second-fourth of the frosting.
  • Place the third cake layer. Spread with ⅔ of the frosting.
  • Top with the 4th final cake layer and place in the fridge for about 10-20 minutes.
  • Frost outside of the cake with the remaining frosting. Make sure to do a crumb coat first. Let the crumb coat chill for 10 minutes in the fridge and follow with a final layer of frosting.
  • Sprinkle the sides with the pecans and let the cake set for about 3-4 hours in the fridge
  • Before serving, decorate the top of the cake with carrot shavings or cover with pecans.

Notes

  • Tap the cake pans on the kitchen counter to pop any air bubbles and to even out the batter.
  • Be sure to avoid packing in your flour when measuring. Too much flour will lead to a dense carrot cake. Fluff the flour with a fork before scooping it with a measuring cup.
  • To check that the cupcakes are done, insert a toothpick into the middle of the cakes, if the toothpick comes out clean, then they are done. If the toothpick comes out with some batter on it, keep baking.
  • Avoid over-mixing your batter as it can cause the cake to get too dense.
  • The easiest way to cut the cake layers is by using a serrated knife.
  • Use an offset spatula to easily frost your carrot cake.
  • Buy chocolate carrot decorations to make the cake even cuter.
  • Bringing all your ingredients to room temperature allows them to mix together better and avoid overmixing.
  • To get the perfect flat cake layers, you can use cake strips.
  • If you’re using smaller and more cake pans for more layers, make sure not to overfill the pans.

Nutrition

Calories: 740kcal | Carbohydrates: 67g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 49g | Saturated Fat: 27g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 107mg | Sodium: 571mg | Potassium: 348mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 42g | Vitamin A: 3607IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 236mg | Iron: 2mg
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