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TWD: Carrie’s Cute Carrot Cake

April 22, 2008

Er… Umm… I mean Bill’s Big Carrot Cake. This week’s recipe is brought to us by Amanda of Slow Like Honey. Be sure to stop by her blog as well as the other TWD blogs to check out their Big Beautiful Carrot Cakes!
I decided to make my carrot cake Carrie’s Cute Carrot Cake (with only two layers of cake) as opposed to Bill’s Big Carrot Cake (with three layers of cake) because well I only have two round cake pans and I didn’t want to wait around to bake the third layer.
Also, I wanted to use the what would be third layer to make cupcakes to send with B to band practice to share with the boys (because yes, my husband is in a Blues Band). :)

Here’s a view of the cupcakes:
Carrie’s Cute Carrot Cupcakes Created in Carrie’s Kitchen!

Now on to that cake! WOW WOW WOW!!! I declare this my favorite Dorie recipe yet and B has decided that this is what he wants for his birthday cake (in July)! This cake Rocked My World! It is intense! First of all, it is sooo moist! When I was transferring the layers from the pans to the cooling rack, I’m certain there was fear in my eyes! The layers are so moist, they are almost delicate, but don’t worry, when put together this cake is just as sturdy (and certainly more delicious) as any other. Then the frosting… Oh the frosting! When you cut a piece of this cake, the frosting oozes out the sides of the slice, perfect for just licking right off your fingers! This is the best cream cheese frosting with just a hint of lemon! I do have my own cream cheese frosting recipe that I certainly stand by, but I think the hint of lemon in Dorie’s recipe is a perfect compliment to this particular cake!

Carrie’s Cute Carrot Cake Created in Carrie’s Kitchen!

Bill’s Big Carrot Cake:

Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan (pgs 253-255)

Yields 10 servings

For the cake:

2 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

¾ teaspoon salt

3 cups grated carrots (about 9 carrots, you can grate them in food processor fitted w/ a shredding a blade or use a box grater) I used organic carrots.
B was kind enough to grate them by hand for me since we still do not own a food processor… ahem!

1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans

1 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)

½ cup moist, plump raisins (dark or golden) or dried cranberries (organic)

2 cups sugar

1 cup canola oil

4 large eggs

For the frosting:

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature I used neufchatel.

1 stick ( 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 pound or 3 and ¾ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted You know I didn’t sift.

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or ½ teaspoon pure lemon extract

½ cup shredded coconut (optional) I left it out.

Finely chopped toasted nuts and/or toasted shredded coconut (optional)
I left out the coconut and used craisins for decor instead.

1. Getting ready:

Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter three (two) 9-x-2-inch round cake pans (mine are 8×2 inch, round), flour the insides, and tap out the excess. Put the two pans on one baking sheet and one on another. I put both pans on one baking sheet.

2. To make the cake:

Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
In another bowl, stir together the carrots, chopped nuts, coconut, and craisins.

3. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the sugar and oil together on a medium speed until smooth.
Add the eggs one by one and continue to beat until the batter is even smoother.
4. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture, mixing only until the dry ingredients disappear.
Gently mix the chunky ingredients.
5. Divide the batter among the baking pans.

Bake for 40-50 minutes, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point (I only needed to rotate front to back), until a thin knife inserted into the centers comes out clean. The cakes will have just started to come away from the sides of the pans.
6. Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes and unmold them. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.

The cakes can be wrapped airtight and kept at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to 2 months.

7. To make the frosting:

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth and creamy.
8. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until the frosting is velvety smooth.
Beat in the lemon juice or extract.

9. If you’d like coconut in the filling, scoop about half of the frosting and stir the coconut into this position. I didn’t do this. I think having coconut in the cake is enough.

10. To assemble the cake:

Put one layer top side up on a cardboard cake round or a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper. I put mine directly on a plate.
If you added the coconut to the frosting, use half of the coconut frosting to generously cover the first layer (or generously cover with plain frosting).
Use an offset spatula or a spoon to smooth the frosting all the way to the edges of the layer.

11. Top with the second layer, this time placing the cake top side down, and frost with the remainder of the coconut frosting or plain frosting.
12. Top with the last layer, right side up, and frost the top- and the sides- of the cake. I did not add a third layer or frost the sides of my cake (neither does Dorie).

13. Finish the top with swirls of frosting. If you want to top the cake with toasted nuts or coconut, sprinkle them on now while the frosting is soft. I sprinkled with walnuts and craisins. I love the extra color the crasins add.

Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes, just to set the frosting before serving.


This cake can be served as soon as the frosting is set. It can also wait, at room temperature and covered with a cake keeper overnight. The cake is best served in thick slices at room temperature and while it’s good plain, it’s even better with vanilla ice cream or some lemon curd.


The cake will keep at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. It can also be frozen. Freeze it uncovered, then when it’s firm, wrap airtight and freeze for up to 2 months. Defrost, still wrapped, overnight in the refrigerator.

35 Comments leave one →
  1. April 22, 2008 8:59 am

    I’m glad you liked this as much as I did, and I agree about the frosting – amazing! Great job!

  2. April 22, 2008 9:04 am

    Your cake looks fabulous! Great pictures. I was really pleased with mine as well!

  3. April 22, 2008 9:20 am

    I also thought the icing was to die for! Great presentation!

  4. rebecca1231 permalink
    April 22, 2008 9:38 am

    Oh, YUMMY. I’m making these substitutions next time. What a good-looking cake!

  5. April 22, 2008 9:50 am


  6. April 22, 2008 9:58 am

    Your cake and cupcakes are gorgeous! Seriously awesome job Carrie, so glad you liked it too. :)

  7. April 22, 2008 10:25 am

    Carrie, that cake looks DELICIOUS, D-LOVELY and DIVINE! Love the sprinkling of fruits and nuts on the top!

  8. April 22, 2008 10:34 am

    I love the idea of cranberries! I could eat them all day. And with the lemon in the frosting? I can just imagine how yummy!

  9. April 22, 2008 11:41 am

    Yum! I think everyone is agreement on how excellent the frosting with the lemon was. I want to eat yours right off the page, it looks so gooey and delicious!

  10. April 22, 2008 2:27 pm

    I love the cupcakes! so cute!
    My husband is in a blues band as well… sadly they don’t reherse with enough regularity for me to pawn baked goods off on. I DO usually end up cooking them all dinner though.

  11. April 22, 2008 3:37 pm

    This was a particularly luscious recipe! Yours looks great!

  12. April 22, 2008 3:50 pm

    Your cupcakes are cute & your cake looks divine! Nice work!!

  13. April 22, 2008 4:05 pm

    Beautiful cake and adorable cupcakes! Love the walnut and craisin garnish. My birthday is in July too! Happy (early) birthday to me and your hubs! :)
    Clara @ I♥food4thought

  14. April 22, 2008 4:37 pm

    Beautiful job – I like the craisins on top along with the nuts – very pretty!

  15. April 22, 2008 5:51 pm

    Well damn… I skipped the frosting this time and I *still* thought the cake tasted great. Next time I’ll make the icing. I love the way you decorated yours!

  16. April 22, 2008 7:25 pm

    The cupcakes look amazing. By the way, you were correct. The “secret” ingredient is zucchini. I sub it for 1/3-1/2 of the carrots.

  17. April 22, 2008 8:01 pm

    yum! The craisins on top are perfect! Love it!

  18. April 22, 2008 8:53 pm

    Lovely cupcakes and I love that you renamed them! They look just delicious!

  19. April 22, 2008 9:27 pm

    i love the cranberries on top! everything looks super yummy!

  20. Erin permalink
    April 22, 2008 9:29 pm

    What a lovely cake! I love the craisins on top. Your cupcakes are beautiful too :)

  21. April 22, 2008 9:46 pm

    Beautiful cake! The cupcakes look great too. I also enjoyed the cake. The recipe is definately a keeper!

  22. April 22, 2008 10:27 pm

    LOL! I think Carrie’s Cute Carrot Cake is a great name! :) It looks awesome; I love the walnuts/craisins on top. Great idea!

  23. kdgreen permalink
    April 22, 2008 11:30 pm

    Your pictures are fabulous. I thought I had had my fill of carrot cake but I am hungry all over again.

  24. April 23, 2008 8:55 am

    I love the color of the cranberries. It’s a nice contrast to the white icing. Your cupcake version looks amazing.

  25. April 23, 2008 11:10 am

    Nicely done! Part of the reason I opted out of making a layered cake was that I didn’t have two round cake pans. You got around that didn’t you! Making a two layered cake and a side of cupcakes was a good idea.

    I’m glad that you liked the recipe. I haven’t been a TWD member for too long, but I agree that this is my favorite recipe of hers so far.

  26. April 23, 2008 6:31 pm


  27. April 24, 2008 9:19 am

    It is so cute!! Rustic and tasty!

  28. April 24, 2008 8:02 pm

    your cupcake are fantastic! :)

  29. April 25, 2008 1:39 am

    Nice job! Very colorful cake!

  30. April 25, 2008 4:08 pm

    Wow, it looks awesome!

  31. April 30, 2008 11:34 pm

    This is stunning. I love how you turned these into cupcakes.

    from Occasional Baker


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