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May 24, 2011 06:36 PM

Need best ever carrot cake recipe!

So, my lovely husband adores carrot cake, but I'm really not a fan. I love to cook and bake, especially cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and desserts of all sorts, and want to surprise him with the most magnificent carrot cake I can produce! Only problem is, that of all the billions (ok, maybe hundreds) of recipes I've made, I don't think I've ever made a carrot cake!! Can anyone give me an amazing, knock-your-socks-off carrot cake recipe to re-produce?!

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  1. This one has never failed me--it always gets rave reviews. It's from the Los Angeles Times California Cookbook, where it says it's a much-requested recipe from the newspaper. You can bake it in a 9 X 13-inch pan (or cupcakes, I imagine, though I've never tried that), but I like doing it as a layer cake. It makes three layers, which makes for a really impressive presentation.

    14-Carat Cake

    1. popular topic, but carrot cake is *extremely* variable. some have coconut, some don't. some have pineapple, some don't. some have raisins, some don't, some call for buttercream frosting, some for cream cheese get the idea :)

      any details about your husband's preferences would help narrow the field.

      you could also read some of the many existing threads to see if anything sounds like it would fit the bill:

      1. I've tried many carrot cake recipes and my go to carrot cake recipe is from CI . Even if you chose another recipe be sure to make the frosting from that CI recipe. Its amazing. I sprinkle the top of the cake w toasted coconut.

        1 Reply
        1. re: shaebones

          Yes, if the CI recipe is the same as the one in The New Best Recipe, I'll concur. It is light and completely non-greasy.

        2. LOVE this one with the steamed raisins, adds so much moisture.

          Carrot Cake
          from Maida Heatter's Great Book of American Desserts

          5 ounces (1 cup) dark raisins
          1 pound carrots to make 4 cups shredded, firmly packed
          2 cups minus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
          2 teaspoons double acting baking powder
          1 teaspoon baking soda
          1 teaspoon salt
          2 teaspoons cinnamon
          1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
          4 large or extra-large eggs
          2 teaspoons vanilla extract
          1 cup granulated sugar
          1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
          1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
          5 1/2 ounces walnuts, cut into medium-small pieces
          Cream Cheese Icing, recipe follows
          a handful of pecan halves, for garnish

          Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray three 9-inch cake pans with cooking spray, line the bottoms with parchment, and spray the parchment.

          Place the raisins in a vegetable steamer over shallow water in a saucepan and steam for 10 minutes. Uncover and set aside.

          Grate the carrots using a food processor (I used the disc with largest holes, but you can grate them more finely if desired) or a standing metal grater. Measure and set aside.

          Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cocoa, and set aside.

          In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs. Add the vanilla, both sugars, and oil, and mix until well combined. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed only until combined. Stir in the carrots, raisins, and nuts.

          Divide the batter evenly among the three pans and use a spatula to even out the batter. Bake the pans for 35 to 40 minutes or until the tops just spring back when gently pressed with a fingertip and the cakes begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove from the oven and let stand 2-3 minutes in the pans on a cooling rack. Run a small knife around the perimeter of the cake and invert the cakes onto a cooling rack and allow to cool completely. It is not necessary to remove the parchment from the bottoms of the cakes at this time.

          Brush any stray crumbs from the sides of the cakes and transfer the cakes to the freezer, unwrapped, for at least an hour, or until cakes are firm enough to handle. If you wish to freeze the cakes longer, wrap the frozen layers in plastic wrap and return to the freezer until you are ready to frost the cake. Do not thaw the layers before icing.

          When ready to ice the cake, prepare a large, flat cake plate by lining it with four strips of wax paper to make a square. This wax paper will catch any crumbs and icing while frosting the cake. Remove the parchment paper from the bottoms of the cakes. Place one cold and firm cake layer upside down on the plate. Spread a thin layer (2/3 cup) of the icing evenly over the cake. Cover with the second layer, also upside down. Spread another 2/3 cup icing over the second layer. Place the third layer on top, also upside down and spread the remaining icing over the top and sides of the cake. Remove the wax paper strips carefully. Garnish the cake with pecan halves. Refrigerate the cake for a few hours or for a day or two. Serve cold right from the refrigerator.

          1. The only one I've ever made is the one in the first Silver Palate Cookbook. People love it so, I've never looked for another recipe.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Jay F

              + 1 on the Silver Palate Carrot Cake. It is OUTSTANDING!. Truly. Much prefer it to the CI.

              Easy carrot puree for this or any recipe: microwave 1 carrot and 1/4 cup orange juice tightly wrapped for 5 min until carrot is fork tender. Blend in blender and either use or freeze.

              1. re: Blancmange

                +2 on the Silver Palate Carrot Cake! I've tried several other recipes, and this one is far and away the best one.