Moist Carrot Cake
Carrot cake is obligatory for Easter. Tender yet hearty with ample fold-in fillings, carrot cake just feels right. Biting into a slice of moist carrot cake is just as ritualistic as dyeing eggs or making an Easter ham. Baking a moist carrot cake seldom is a boring tradition.
I cannot settle for just ANY carrot cake. I always make a moist carrot cake. I know, I know, I know. Google search the key terms for ‘moist carrot cake’ and you’ll drown in the sea of search engine results. How does one decipher is a carrot cake is moist as it proclaims to be?
A moist carrot cake is far from healthy. Yet when is cake suppose to be healthy? Come on, it’s Easter! An oil based carrot cake is a must. Eggs will follow suit, in this recipe 4 eggs really do help both with moisture as well as structure.
There are two carrot cake camps of though: pineapple-carrot and plain carrot. This is very much a personal matter, but since I despise pineapple, I lean towards a carrot-only recipe. I have used this moist carrot cake recipe for years. I dislike the long straggled strings of carrots. To me, they look like frayed hairs coming out of the cake. Following the author Zoe’s suggestion, I used the smaller size on the box grater to grate the carrots into a finer shred size. With this step, you reduce the carrot shagginess of the cake.
A slice of this cake is far from photogenic. A slice of this moist carrot cake won’t win any beauty contest but it makes up for it in flavorful taste. I over compensated and went over-the-top with the decorations. But I feel no need to rationalize my choice of cluttered decor. It’s a cake, it’s suppose to be fun! The variety of spices give a warm depth to the cake while the carrots, toasted coconut, and toasted walnuts. In added toasted coconut, raisins, and walnuts to the cream cheese frosting between the cake layers. This mimicked the textural components of the moist carrot cake.
I hope you’re able to make this carrot cake apart of some sort of cake-making tradition.
- 2¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon fine salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 1 pound carrots, finely grated
- 4 large eggs, room temperature
- 1¼ cup canola oil
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- ⅔ cups light brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup coconut, toasted
- 1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
- 1 cup raisins
- 24 ounces (3 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup (2 sticks, 8 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 pounds powdered sugar, sifted
- Toasted coconut, toasted walnuts, and raisins (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 3 8-inch baking pans. Set aside.
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices to combine. Set aside.
- Line a plate with paper towels. Take the finely grated carrots and dry them out on the paper towels, pressing the towels to absorb any excess liquid.
- Combine the eggs, oil, granulated and light brown sugars, and the vanilla extract. To this wet mixture add the dry ingredients. Fold in the carrots, walnuts coconuts, and raisins.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pans, tapping the pans on the counter to remove any air bubbles.
- Bake the cake for 25 to 30 minutes, rotating half way.
- Remove from the oven, let them rest in the pans for 10 minutes before removing them to cool completely.
- In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter on a medium-high speed, scraping down the bowl as needed, until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add the vanilla then slowly add the sifted powdered sugar.
- If you are making the coconut, walnut, and raisin filling, reserve 1 to 1½ cups of the frosting and fold in the toasted coconut, toasted walnuts, and raisins.
- Level off the cakes so each layer is flat.
- Frost each layer with a ring of frosting to create a 'moat' which will hold the filling in between the layers of the cake. Spoon in the frosting that was blended with the coconut and nuts. Repeat this process with next layer.
- Do a light crumb coating on the outside of the cake and let the cake chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
- Frost the cake with a final coat of frosting. Let the cake chill for a final 15 minutes. Decorate the cake with the remaining frosting, candies, cookies, or even white chocolate ganache.