Best Ever Carrot Cake

by kara on August 30, 2011

My husband, Courtland, and his brother, Ben often celebrate their birthdays together since the dates are close.  Once again, they both requested Carrot Cake.  I made these cupcakes last year.  I think this recipe outdid the cupcakes.  In fact, I brought the leftover cake to work the next day, and my co-workers claimed it the Best Ever Carrot Cake.

Carrot Cake

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, 3rd Edition, 2010

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/4 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/8 tsp. cloves

1/2 tsp. salt

4 large eggs, room temperature

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 1/2 cups canola oil

1 lb. carrots, peeled and grated (or processed in food processor)

1/2 cup golden raisins

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 cup toasted and chopped pecans


8 oz. light cream cheese, softened

5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened

1 Tbsp. light sour cream

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a 9 by 13-inch cake pan with cooking spray.  Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt in a large bowl.  Set aside.

In another large bowl, mix the eggs and sugar together until mixture is frothy (about 1 minute).  While mixing, slowly add the oil until the mixture is emulsified (about 1 more minute).  Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture,  mixing until no streaks of flour remain.  With a wooden spoon or spatula, stir in the carrots, golden raisins, dried cranberries, and toasted pecan pieces.

Pour the batter into the pan and smooth on the top.  Bake until a tooth pick comes out clean with just a few crumbs attached (40-45 minutes), rotating the pan halfway through baking.

Let the cake cool in the pan for 2 hours.  In the meantime, prepare frosting by processing the cream cheese, butter, sour cream, and vanilla in a food processor (about 5 seconds).  Add the powdered sugar and process until smooth (about 10 seconds), scraping down the bowl and blades as needed. Store frosting in refrigerator until ready to frost.

When cake is cooled, run a knife around the perimeter of the pan, then invert the cake onto a rack or serving platter.  Peel off parchment paper before frosting.  Frost cake and store in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Ben brought special “brother candles” this year.  He’s thoughtful like that:)


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris Holmes July 27, 2012 at 1:02 pm

Hi–Got everything ready and your recipe does not contain the amount of baking soda in the ingredients…now, I’m stuck and needed to bake this cake.


kara July 27, 2012 at 1:10 pm

Hi Chris! The correct amount of baking soda is 1 tsp. Thanks for letting me know. I’ve changed the recipe. Hope it’s not to late!

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