This carrot cake recipe is perfect: just the right amount of spice, with a super moist and tight velvety crumb and the smoothest whipped mascarpone cheesecake frosting.

Soft and lush with just the right amount of warming cinnamon spice and a zing from freshly grated ginger. This carrot cake is dense, tender, and fluffy in all the right ways.

carrot cake | www.iamafoodblog.com

I love carrot cake with a passion. It’s always been one of my favorite kind of cakes, ever since I was small. I was obsessed with carrots because I wanted to be a bunny and for a long time carrots were the only thing I ate. Luckily, carrot cake fit perfectly into my carrot diet.

Carrot cake is one of those classic cakes that often gets passed over in favor of more flashier counterpoints: dense fudge chocolate cake, perfectly fluffy white cake, and party-forward funfetti. But to me, carrot cake will remain a forever favorite. Sweet and plush, soft and tender, and so fluffy. I feel like I could eat carrot cake forever and ever.

This particular carrot cake recipe is extra special because of two things: fresh ginger and a mascarpone cheesecake frosting that is out of this world.

carrot cake recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

What is carrot cake

Carrot cake is cake, made with carrots! Typically, carrot cake is made with shredded carrots mixed into a spiced batter, sometimes studded with nuts, fruit, and coconut. They’re almost always paired with a cream cheese frosting. Since carrots are naturally sweet and quite juicy, it makes a lot of sense that they’re used in cake. They lend moisture, sweetness, and texture to cake.

Why you should make this carrot cake recipe

  • it has carrots in it so you can consider it health food!
  • it’s one of the easiest cakes to make, very forgiving and perfect for beginner bakers
  • you don’t need a mixer, just two bowls
  • it’s perfectly sized: just a 8 inch sheet cake, practically snack size
  • you want to celebrate spring or Easter
  • carrot cake is love, especially when it’s frosted with cream cheese

carrot cake recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

Why this is the best carrot cake recipe

This is the carrot cake I’ve been making for ages. It’s essentially the carrot cake (minus the frosting) from Smitten Kitchen, with just a few tiny tweaks: I leave out the nutmeg, swap the ground ginger for freshly grated, switch out the granulated sugar for a mix of brown sugar and granulated sugar, and leave out the raisins and walnuts.

For me, the best carrot cake is dense yet fluffy, plush and velvety, full of carrot sweetness with nothing to detract from the crumb. Coconut, raisins, pineapples, walnuts can only dream of being in this cake. This is a pure and simple carrot cake, the kind your fork will glide through without hitting anything on the way down.

carrot cake recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

Carrot cake frosting

Carrot cake must always be paired with a cream cheese frosting and this is my favorite, a cheesecake/tiramisu inspired frosting with mascarpone in it for an extra bit of luxury. The frosting is not too sweet, just a perfect pillow of tangy, lightly sweetened cream cheese, not unlike the whipped layers you find in tiramisu.

Decorating

Lastly, part of the charm of this cake is that it’s a simple 8 inch sheet cake. It’s the perfect size for smaller gatherings and because it’s a sheet cake, it’s super easy to decorate – just use an offset spatula to swoosh the frosting on top. I love sheet cakes because they are so much less finicky than layered cakes. They feel more like an everyday cake, one that you can whip up and having just sitting around, waiting for you to cut a slice for your afternoon coffee treat.

carrot cake with icing | www.iamafoodblog.com

How to make carrot cake

  1. Dry ingredients. In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, then set it aside.
  2. Wet ingredients. In another bowl, whisk together oil and sugar until well blended. Add the eggs, one at a time, making sure to incorporate completely.
  3. Combine. Stir the flour mix in until just combined, then stir in the carrots and freshly grated ginger.
  4. Bake. Pour the batter into a lightly buttered parchment paper lined 8 inch square cake pan and bake until a tester comes out clean.
  5. Cool and make the frosting. Let the cake cool completely. While the cake is cooling, make the frosting by whipping up heavy cream, sugar, cream cheese, and mascarpone.
  6. Frost. Top the carrot cake with the frosting and use an offset spatula to smooth it out. Slice and enjoy!

carrot cake | www.iamafoodblog.com

Ingredients

The ingredients in this carrot cake are pretty standard: all purpose flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, oil, brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, carrots, and fresh ginger. Just a couple notes to make this the best carrot cake possible:

Carrots

I like to peel and grate whole carrots for carrot cake. Freshly grated carrots are usually a lot more juicy and moist compared to shredded carrots that you buy at the grocery store. If you want your carrot cake to be absolutely super, use the fine side of your grater for a very soft and tender batter. You can use a food processor or the coarse side of a grater as well but the carrot shreds will be a bit thicker. The key to this carrot cake is fine carrot shreds that are super delicate.

Oil

Maybe you’re wondering why this is an oil based cake vs a butter based cake. The answer is moistness! Because oil is liquid at room temp whereas butter can be solid, oil based cakes tend to be more moist and tender. Oil cakes also have a more even tender crumb thanks to the fact that it’s easier to mix oil into your cake batter. My preference for a neutral baking oil is canola, safflower, grapeseed, or sunflower.

Brown and granulated sugar

A mix of brown and granulated sugar means the best of both worlds: granulated sugar for sweetness and brown sugar for rich caramelized flavors and moisture.

Cinnamon

Most people don’t think of cinnamon when they think of carrot cake but almost all carrot cakes are spiced! The warming spices of cinnamon pair perfectly with the sweetness of carrots.

Fresh ginger

Ginger and cinnamon often go hand in hand, especially in baked goods (think gingerbread or ginger snaps). Most carrot cakes use powdered ginger but I like the freshness and zing of freshly grated ginger. It’ll add a little bit of extra oomph to your cake that will make you coming back for slice and slice.

carrot cake batter | www.iamafoodblog.com

How to decorate carrot cake

I like to keep it simple – one of the bonuses of making a sheet cake is how easy it is to frost, just go for the top, no need to frost and layer. Simply use an offset spatula to swoosh the frosting on top. I am in love with Japanese deco roll cakes where they pipe tiny patterns into cake batter and I was inspired by that to pipe out tiny little carrots to dot the surface of the cake. I made a quick royal icing but you can also use candy melts or just color the cream cheese frosting too.

carrot cake recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

If you’re looking for other Easter inspired eats, please try these!

Carrot cake is the happiest of all the cakes! I hope you make this cake because you deserve it!
xoxo steph

 

carrot cake recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

Carrot Cake Recipe

Just the right amount of spice, with a super moist and tight velvety crumb and the smoothest whipped mascarpone cheesecake frosting.
Serves 16
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 40 mins

Ingredients

Carrot Cake

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 10 tbsp canola oil 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1.5 cups carrots grated and peeled, about 2-3 medium carrots
  • 1 tsp ginger fresh grated

Frosting

  • 4 oz cream cheese room temp
  • 4 oz marscapone room temp
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Special Equipment

  • 8x8 cake pan

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter and line a 8 inch square cake pan with parchment paper. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger. Set aside.
    carrot cake dry mix | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Whisk the oil and sugars together in a bowl until well blended. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time until incorporated.
    carrot cake wet mix | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Stir in the flour mixture until just blended, then stir in the carrots and grated ginger.
    carrot cake batter | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a tester in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack, peel off the parchment paper and cool completely.
    carrot cake | www.iamafoodblog.com
  • Make the frosting by whip together all the frosting ingredients in a stand mixer until full and fluffy. Frost your cake and enjoy!
    carrot cake with icing | www.iamafoodblog.com

Notes

If you want to make this into a round cake, you can bake off two 6 inch rounds and stack them for a classic layered carrot cake or bake into a single a 8 or 9 inch round.

Estimated Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Carrot Cake Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 234 Calories from Fat 141
% Daily Value*
Fat 15.7g24%
Saturated Fat 4.6g29%
Sodium 195mg8%
Potassium 68mg2%
Carbohydrates 21.3g7%
Fiber 0.5g2%
Sugar 14.4g16%
Protein 2.8g6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

5 Comments

  1. linda says:

    You use regular sugar, not powdered sugar?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi linda,
      yes, just granulated sugar for the frosting!

  2. Da Cipriano says:

    5 stars
    Hi :) My mother makes the same cake also, I love it. Yours looks wonderful, compliments!

  3. joan says:

    In step 1 you say to whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and ginger and set aside. Do you mean dried ginger in this step and 1 teaspoon as in SmittenKitchens recipe? Later in step 3 you say to stir in the carrots and grated ginger. Is that also 1 teaspoon–or are the two gingers just 1/2 teaspoon each? I hope to make this today or tomorrow. Thank you, it sounds so good with the frosting.

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi! it’s 1/2 tsp ground ginger and 1 tsp grated ginger. step one has the ground ginger added and step 3 is grated ginger :)

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