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Carrot Cake

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Carrot Cake
  • Prep 20 min
  • Total 1 hr 5 min
  • Servings 12
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Carrot Cake is one of those classic recipes that works so well for any celebration. The bright orange color offset by creamy white frosting makes Carrot Cake the star of any dessert tray. As the name implies, the shredded carrots give this easy Carrot Cake recipe its bright color, but the taste is subtle. Warm cinnamon and vanilla help create a swoon-worthy flavor as you bite into the moist, dense cake. One of the best parts of Carrot Cake is the famous sweet-and-tangy cream cheese frosting. Follow our homemade recipe, or save time, and substitute Betty Crocker™ Rich & Creamy Cream Cheese Frosting instead.
Updated Feb 23, 2021

Ingredients

Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups Gold Medal™ All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups shredded carrots (5 medium)
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • Nutmeg, if desired
Make With
Make With
Gold Medal Flour

Steps

  • 1
    Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottom and sides of one 13x9-inch pan or two 8-inch or 9-inch round pans with shortening; lightly flour. In large bowl, beat granulated sugar, oil and eggs with electric mixer on low speed about 30 seconds or until blended. Add flour, cinnamon, baking soda, 1 teaspoon vanilla and the salt; beat on low speed 1 minute. Stir in carrots and nuts. Pour into pan(s).
  • 2
    Bake 13x9-inch pan 40 to 45 minutes, round pans 30 to 35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool rectangle in pan on cooling rack. Cool rounds 10 minutes; remove from pans to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
  • 3
    In medium bowl, beat cream cheese, butter, milk and vanilla with electric mixer on low speed until smooth. Gradually beat in powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, on low speed until smooth and spreadable. Frost 13x9-inch cake or fill and frost round layers with frosting. Sprinkle nutmeg on frosted cake, if desired. Store in refrigerator.

Tips from the Betty Crocker Kitchens

  • tip 1
    Treat this as an after-school snacking cake—pour the batter into two square 8-inch baking pans. Bake them up, making one unfrosted cake available for the kids right away, allowing them to frost or ice their own pieces as they go. Wrap and stash the second cake in the freezer until you need it.
  • tip 2
    Greasing and flouring cake pans for this kind of dense, moist cake is your most important first step (after properly pre-heating your oven), especially if you want to unmold cake rounds to stack. Generously grease the pans, then spoon a couple of teaspoons of flour in—tap the pan back and forth or in a circular motion, so the flour just lightly coats the surface. Tap out any excess. But to be doubly sure you can remove layers in one piece, line the bottom of the just-greased pans with a circle of parchment paper.
  • tip 3
    Save yourself time using a 16-ounce container of Betty Crocker™ Rich & Creamy Cream Cheese Frosting instead of the from-scratch recipe.
  • tip 4
    A thick cream cheese frosting is the go-to finish for carrot cake, but for a lighter approach, glaze with orange icing: mix powdered sugar with a few teaspoons of fresh orange juice and a little grated zest until the right consistency for drizzling on top of the cake.
  • tip 5
    Some people aren’t nut fans, so consider adding some golden raisins or snipped apricots if you leave them out. Or if walnuts aren’t a favorite, try toasted pecans or macadamia nuts; both offer a contrasting texture without infusing a strong nut flavor into the cake.
  • tip 6
    Stir grated fresh orange peel into cake batter or frosting—both play up the carrots' sweet earthiness and brighten the richness of the cake and frosting.

Nutrition

440 Calories, 26g Total Fat, 6g Protein, 46g Total Carbohydrate, 27g Sugars

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 Serving
Calories
440
Calories from Fat
240
Total Fat
26g
40%
Saturated Fat
3 1/2g
18%
Trans Fat
0g
Cholesterol
55mg
18%
Sodium
230mg
10%
Potassium
170mg
5%
Total Carbohydrate
46g
15%
Dietary Fiber
2g
9%
Sugars
27g
Protein
6g
% Daily Value*:
Vitamin A
100%
100%
Vitamin C
2%
2%
Calcium
4%
4%
Iron
10%
10%
Exchanges:
2 Starch; 0 Fruit; 1 Other Carbohydrate; 0 Skim Milk; 0 Low-Fat Milk; 0 Milk; 0 Vegetable; 0 Very Lean Meat; 0 Lean Meat; 0 High-Fat Meat; 5 Fat;
Carbohydrate Choice
3
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

More About This Recipe

  • According to food historians, carrot cake is probably a variation of the carrot puddings that were popular in Medieval Europe. Since sugar and other sweeteners were precious at that time, enterprising cooks used the naturally sweet root vegetable as delicious substitute sweetener in many versions of a simple carrot cake recipe. As legend has it, George Washington celebrated the British evacuation in 1783 with a slice of carrot tea cake at Fraunces Tavern in lower Manhattan. Some things haven’t changed: Not only is carrot cake still popular, but the restaurant is still in business. While some version of a carrot cake recipe can be found going to many centuries, the addition of cream cheese frosting seems to be a uniquely American innovation that began to appear in the 1960s. To keep the tradition going in your own kitchen, consider trying other versions of carrot cake recipes that feature clever plays on classic flavors.
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