Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting recipe

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Several years ago, my husband brought a piece of carrot cake to work as part of his lunch. Called away from his desk, he naively left his slice of cake unprotected. Waiting for him when he returned was an empty plate and a one-word note that read: “Excellent.”

I found this recipe for carrot cake in a newspaper column years ago and loved it so much that I still make it every once in a while. The newspaper reprinted it from Good Old-Fashioned Cakes, St. Martin’s Press 1989. I’ve made some alterations to the recipe along the way, and I think it’s one of the best carrot cakes ever … as did my husband’s coworker.


I find it easier to shred carrots using a food processor, but a box grater works well too.            

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Carrot Cake

Cake Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spoon and sweep method of measuring)
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour (spoon and sweep method of measuring)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon – Explore The Spice House | Shop Now
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups firmly packed, light brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • One 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 3 cups grated raw carrots
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts


Position the oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-x-13-inch pan and dust with flour.

In a medium bowl, combine the flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until frothy. Add the sugar and beat until well blended. Pour in the oil slowly, beating until well incorporated. Mix in the vanilla.

With a large spoon or spatula, stir in the dry ingredients. Gently fold in the pineapple, carrots, and nuts. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool completely on a wire rack. I frost the cake right in the baking pan.

Note: When I tried using a reduced-fat cream cheese, the frosting didn’t hold its shape. I recommend using regular cream cheese.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Servings: Enough to frost the top of one 9-x-13-inch cake
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Frosting Ingredients

  • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened (not reduced-fat)
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 cups powdered sugar (spoon and sweep method of measuring)
  • Milk (a teaspoon at a time as needed)


Beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar, beating well. Gradually add in the remaining 2 cups of powdered sugar and beat until smooth and creamy. Add milk a teaspoon at a time until you reach a desired spreading consistency.

Note: If needed, add a small amount of powdered sugar if you’ve added a little too much milk.

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