Easy Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
When it comes to desserts, I’m almost exclusively a chocolate girl. I can say no to almost anything that doesn’t involve chocolate, except for carrot cake. This Easy Carrot Cake Recipe with Cream Cheese Frosting is perfect for anyone who wants to make their own carrot cake, but doesn’t want to be bothered with long complex baking recipes.
My take on this Easy Carrot Cake Recipe is based off of Gimme Some Oven’s BEST Carrot Cake Recipe. Which Ali’s truly is. However, that’s a three layer cake and typically I don’t have enough people around to warrant a three layer cake. So I took Ali’s incredible recipe and converted it to be for a two layer cake.
Warning: you’ll have a bit of cake and frosting leftover from this recipe. You can either snack on it or save it to make cake pops — which I highly recommend. Recipe coming shortly!
The secret to this Easy Carrot Cake is in the balance of the tart from the cream cheese and the sweetness from the cake itself. Which coincidentally also turns out perfectly moist, but not too dense or oily, every time from the shredded carrots. Plus, it has what every good carrot cake has: an explosion of warm spices swirled throughout the batter so that each and every bite is a dream.
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 cups grated carrots
- 2 (8-ounce) bricks cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 cup 1 sticks salted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3 cups powdered sugar or more, if needed to thicken
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two 8-inch round baking pans.
In a stand mixer or large mixing bowl, mix together the oil, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until combined. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, nutmeg and cloves until combined. Gradually add the dry ingredients into the wet and mix until smooth. Fold in the grated carrots.
Hint: make sure that your cream cheese and butter are removed from the fridge and coming to room temperature at this point to make your frosting more quickly! I always forget this step, so a friendly reminder!
Pour the batter evenly into the prepared baking pans and bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove pans from the oven and let cool on a wire baking rack. Cool to room temperature, then use a butter knife to loosen the cakes from their pans, flip upside and tap to release the cakes on the wire rack. Let cool completely.
Once the cakes are entirely cool, use a cake leveler or a bread knife to slice off the rounded tops of the cakes so that they are completely flat. (Hint: save that extra cake for cake pops or snacking!)
To make the frosting, combine the room temperature cream cheese, butter and vanilla to a mixing bowl. Whip until combined and smooth. Gradually mix in the powdered sugar until it is completely combined and your desired consistency. You want it thicker than whip cream, but not too thick to make spreading a nightmare.
Place the first cake on your serving platter. Tuck small pieces of wax paper or parchment paper around the edges of the cake to make for easy clean up after frosting. Add a large scoop of frosting to the first layer of cake and spread it out and extend a bit over the edges. Top with the second layer of cake and use the remaining frosting to cover the top and frost around the edges of the cake.
If you're serving it the same day, cover and place in a cool, dry place. If not, cover and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
Adapted to create a two layer cake from Gimme Some Oven's three layer The BEST Carrot Cake Recipe (which is truly is).