I didn't realize how much I really loved carrot cake until this beauty came along. I never order carrot cake for dessert. There's usually something much more appealing on the dessert menu that wins me over- a rich chocolate lava cake, creme brulee, bananas foster cake.... you get the idea. This cake makes me wonder how many delicious carrot cakes I have missed out on. Let me clarify- only carrot cakes WITHOUT raisins need apply. Then again, I'm really doubtful any can measure up to this. The spice is just right. The moistness is amazing without any oil- and this is chock full of healthy things like carrots, walnuts, coconut and applesauce. So its totally like a healthful cake. :) Shh... I can't hear you.
I love Brown Eyed Baker and have tried many of her recipes. I adapted this one to include unsweetened applesauce instead of oil. This is a trick you can use in any recipes that require oil, and I always do so. I really hate the taste of oil in a baked good- it just tastes rubbery to me. Your baked good will not taste like apples, don't worry, and you will be enjoying a much healthier, tastier alternative. I hope you try it!
The Best Carrot Cake Ever
Adapted from The Brown Eyed Baker
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp all spice
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 3 cups grated carrots (about 6 large carrots)
- 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
- 1 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 4 eggs
Preheat oven to 325. Line two 9inch cake pans with parchment paper circles and butter and flour (I <3 Pam Baking Spray). Place pans on top of baking sheet (keeps edges from getting hard/too brown).
In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.
If you bought whole carrots, peel and use a food processor to grate. This is what 3 cups of grated carrots looks like.You can always buy the bagged grated carrots to save time.
In a second medium bowl, combine carrots, walnuts and coconut.
In your mixer (use paddle attachment if you have it), beat applesauce and sugar until smooth. Add eggs one at a time until batter is completely mixed. Reduce speed to low and slowly add flour mixture until combined. Lastly, add chunky ingredients until batter comes together.
Divide evenly among pans and tap to settle. Bake 40-50 minutes, rotating pans halfway through, until toothpick/knife inserted in center comes out clean. The sides will have started to pull away from the pan and top should appear dry. Place cakes in pans on cooling rack for 5 minutes before inverting and peeling off parchment circles. Cool completely before icing.
Cream Cheese Frosting
*Makes enough to frost the cake, if you like a lot of frosting, I would multiply this by 1.5
- 8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 lb (3 3/4 cups) powdered sugar
- 1 TBSP vanilla
Beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth and creamy. On low speed, gradually add sugar until combined. Add vanilla until mixed in.
Icing needs to be at room temperature to frost.
To assemble, place one cake upside down on cake plate and top with generous amount of icing. Smooth and spread evenly with icing spatula.
Add second cake on top, also upside down. I find the bottom of the cake easier to ice since its smoother. Repeat with thin layer on top of cake and on sides, reserving a generous amount for final icing. Refrigerate/freeze cake for 20-30 minutes while you clean up your mess. Remove from fridge and apply final icing. Doing it in 2 coats allows for a much smoother finish and a more professional looking cake. Pipe any remaining icing around the bottom and top.