classic carrot cake
This is classic carrot cake at its finest: fluffy and tender carrot cake, perfectly spiced, topped with plush piles of cream cheese frosting. As a carrot cake purist, you won’t find nuts or raisins here, just plenty of sweet spring carrots, warming spices, and buttermilk for a lovely tender crumb.
Swirls of cream cheese frosting make the perfect adornment to this cake. Mini chocolate eggs and a shower of pastel sprinkles add a lovely spring feel, or top with toasted pecans or coconut for an Easter showstopper (and if you adore lemon, a touch of lemon zest in the frosting is divine!).
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp cloves
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted and slightly cooled (or vegetable oil)
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk, at room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups grated carrots
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 12 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- Preheat oven to 350°F and spray two 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick spray. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves in a medium bowl; make a well in the center. Combine melted coconut oil, sugar, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Whisk until smooth, then add to flour mixture and fold in until almost incorporated. Fold in grated carrots.
- Divide batter evenly between cake pans and smooth with an offset spatula. Tap pans sharply to reduce air bubbles. Bake for 22 to 24 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the edges are pulling slightly away from the pan. Cool cakes completely in pans on a wire rack.
- For the frosting, beat cream cheese, butter, salt, and vanilla on medium speed until soft and creamy. Reduce speed to low; add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time and beat well, scraping down bowl as needed.
- To assemble, place one cake layer on a cake stand or serving plate. Use an offset spatula to spread frosting over cake. Top with second layer, and spread remaining frosting over cake. If desired, decorate with mini chocolate eggs and sprinkles. Chill cake for 30 minutes in the refrigerator before slicing and serving. Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator; bring to room temperature before serving.
For lemon cream cheese frosting, omit vanilla and beat in two teaspoons of fresh lemon zest.