Classic Carrot Cake with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

Prep time: 20 minutes

Baking time: 30 minutes

Makes one 9 inch layer cake

Serves: 12-14



1/2 cup canola, corn, or vegetable oil; more for the pans
2 cups (9 oz.) unbleached all-purpose flour; more for the pans
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1-3/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
3/4 tsp. ground ginger
3/4 tsp. table salt
4 large eggs
2-1/2 cups (8-3/4 oz.) lightly packed, finely grated carrots
2 cups packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted- I used toasted pecans because I prefer them.
1/2 cup raisins
1-1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract


1 lb. cream cheese, softened-454 grams or 2 cups- I always use light cream cheese
12 oz. (1-1/2 cups) unsalted butter, softened
1 lb. (4 cups) confectioners’ sugar
4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3/4 tsp. table salt


Making the cake:

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil and flour the sides of two 9×2-inch round cake pans, tapping out any excess flour. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment.

9 inch pans buttered, floured and lined with parchment paper

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, ginger, and salt. In a large bowl with a hand mixer or in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the oil, eggs, carrots, brown sugar, walnuts, raisins, and vanilla on medium speed until well blended, about 1 minute. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until just blended, about 30 seconds. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.

Grated Carrots and Chopped Pecans

Batter before adding the dry ingredients

Dry Ingredients Added

Batter Evenly Poured into two 9 inch pans

Bake until the tops of the cakes spring back when lightly pressed and a cake tester inserted into the centers comes out clean, 28 to 30 minutes.

Finished Baking and Cooling on Rack

Cooled Cakes Popped Out of Pans

Baked Carrot Cakes with Parchment Paper Peeled Off

Let cool in the pans on a rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the inside edge of the pans to loosen the cakes, invert them onto the rack, remove the pans, and carefully peel away the parchment. Set the cakes aside to cool completely before frosting.

Make the Frosting:

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter with the mixer on medium speed until very smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and salt and beat on medium high until blended and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Cover the frosting and set aside at room temperature, but in a cool spot until the layers of cake are completely cool, which will take about an hour.

Chill the cake, if you can for about an hour after frosting and then serve.

Icing Sugar Measured for Frosting

Butter and Cream Cheese

Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

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