Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

It’s time for our February installment of Birthday Celebration Desserts! February’s Birthday Guy chose his all-time favorite: Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. The result was a deliciously spiced cake with a perfectly moist crumb and creamy, tart frosting that I will definitely be making again in the future!

I also decided to try fondant decorations for the first time. Since this was my first time working with fondant, I purchased premade so I could get a feel for the proper texture. After some research, I learned that Satin Ice is a dependable brand of premade fondant. My resulting carrots weren’t perfect by any means, but not bad for a first attempt! I look forward to working with fondant more, and plan to eventually learn to make my own.

NOTE: The recipe I based this cake on was from Sally’s Baking Addiction. I’ve retained her helpful ingredient weights, because I prefer to use them when available. Measuring by weight always results in a more consistent product.

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
(Original recipe: Sally’s Baking Tradition)

1 C (260g) chopped pecans, toasted
1-1/2 C (300g) packed light or dark brown sugar
1/2 C (100g) granulated sugar
1 C (240ml) organic canola oil
4 large eggs
3/4 C (133g) unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2-1/2 C (312g) all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 C (260g) freshly grated carrots

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease three 8-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the brown sugar, granulated sugar, oil, eggs, applesauce, and vanilla together in a large bowl until combined and smooth.

In another large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves together. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and gently fold the ingredients together until just combined. Fold in the carrots and pecans.

Divide the batter evenly between the three cake pans and bake for 20-24 minutes, or until the center is set when you test it with a toothpick. Be careful not to over-bake.

Allow the cakes to cool completely in their pans for at least 15 minutes before moving to a wire rack. Let them cool completely before frosting and assembling.

16 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 C unsalted butter, room temperature
4 C (480g) confectioner’s sugar
1-1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt, to taste

In a large bowl, use a mixer to beat the cream cheese and butter together on medium-high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the confectioner’s sugar, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase to high speed and beat for 3 minutes until completely combined and creamy.

If necessary, layer off the tops of the cakes to give them flat surfaces. Assemble, frost, and decorate your cake. If serving immediately, refrigerate for at least 15-20 minutes before slicing to help the cake hold its shape when cutting.

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