Home > Really Good Carrot Cake

Really Good Carrot Cake

by Nick Makrides
Carrot Cake with slice taken out and another sitting in it

This Really Good Carrot Cake is everything you love about Carrot cake. Creamy walnuts, moist carrot cake that isn’t too oily, and a cream cheese frosting that is creamy and not too sweet. My secret ingredient is orange zest!

I can list a load of things I love about this cake, like the cute buttercream carrots around the sides. They’re so easy to make, anyone can do it! Then there’s how easy the cake is to make and how delicious it is. More on that below!

Slice of Carrot Cake

Orange you glad this cake has orange!

But if I’m choosing one thing, I absolutely love about this cake it’s the addition of orange. The orange zest and juice in the cake and the orange zest in the frosting to compliment the cake!

The cream cheese frosting is nothing to sneeze at. I go more into detail about it below. But what I will say about it is it’s creamy and not overly sweet.

Honourable mention!

I can’t not mention how much I love the walnuts too. They add a really nice texture to the cake!

Cream cheese frosting top down shot for Carrot Cake

About that cream cheese frosting

Typically, a carrot cake has tart cream cheese frosting. Usually with a good squeeze of lemon juice. Mine is different in that the focus is on making it creamy, not lemony and it instead has orange zest which compliments the orange zest and orange juice found in the cake recipe.

Close up of Carrot Cake buttercream decorations

About the buttercream carrots!

The buttercream carrots around the outside of the cake are made using my American buttercream recipe mixed with food gel. I used a medium piping tip for the carrots and a small round tip for the leaves.

The ingredients you’ll need to make a really good Carrot Cake!

Carrot Cake

Ingredients image for Carrot Cake 01

Carrots – I peeled my carrots, but you don’t have to. I would not recommend using a julienne grater for this recipe. Use a regular kitchen grater. The carrots dissolve and cook into the cake better. Unless of course you’re happy seeing the carrots. On your fork with your cake.

All-purpose flour – also known as plain flour.

Baking powder – helps the cake rise and lightens its texture.

Bicarb soda – also known as bicarbonate of soda or baking soda.

Salt – I used fine salt.

Cinnamon – I used cinnamon powder.

Vegetable oil – You can also use sunflower oil.

Brown sugar – I used dark brown sugar, but light will also work.

Eggs – I used large eggs.

Walnuts – I chopped my walnuts roughly. I feel you get a better distribution, and it results in a nicer cake.

Raisins – I do not use raisins in my baked goods. I personally don’t like it. But it does make the cake sweeter and more moist, so by all means add them if it’s your thing!

Shredded coconut – The shredded coconut adds nice texture to the cake. For a finer crumb you can use unsweetened desiccated coconut.

Orange zest – I used orange zest and juice in the cake because I think it really compliments all the wonderful ingredients used. I think it goes really well with things that use brown sugar. I also used zest in the frosting. I would not recommend using any sort of liquid in the frosting as it thins it out and can cause it to curdle.

Frosting

Ingredients image for Carrot Cake 02

Cream cheese – The cream cheese is used for the frosting. For this particular frosting recipe, you need to make sure the cream cheese is cold. It’s all about the structure of the frosting. The cold cream cheese helps slightly set the softened butter. Softened butter will not cream properly so it must be softened in frosting recipes. The cream cheese can tend to make everything go really soft in a frosting recipe if it is not cold. So for this recipe make sure it’s chilled and used straight out of the fridge.

The cream cheese I used is Philadelphia cream cheese blocks. I would not recommend using the spreadable kind.

Butter – I used unsalted butter for this recipe. Make sure it’s softened.

Vanilla ExtractAlways use good quality vanilla extract when baking, it makes a huge difference. I have a great recipe here for it if you’d like to try your own!

Powdered sugar – also known as icing sugar. Softened or pure icing sugar will work. I don’t use a lot in this recipe, and it results in a frosting that is not overly sweet. However, I would not recommend lessening the amount as it is integral to the structure of the frosting.

Milk powder – The milk powder used in this recipe is the type that is used to make long life milk and can be found in the long-life milk section of your supermarket. The milk powder is used to make the cream cheese frosting creamier and to help it set so that it holds its shape.

American Buttercream Frosting – I have a really great recipe for this that you can grab here! It’s great for cupcake, cakes and buttercream decorations!

Food gel – I used chef master food gel.

 

How to make Really Good Carrot Cake from scratch!

Carrot Cake

Instructional image for Carrot Cake 01

  1. Preheat a fan forced oven to 160C / 325F. Spray the bottom and side of three 8-inch cake tins with oil and line the bottom with baking paper. Set aside. Add the all-purpose flour, baking powder, bicarb soda, salt and cinnamon to a medium sized mixing bowl and use a whisk to combine. Set aside.
  2. To a separate bowl, add the oil and brown sugar. Mix until well combined.

Instructional image for Carrot Cake 02

  1. Then add the eggs one at a time, mix well each time.
  2. Add the dry ingredients and use a spatula to mix until well combined.

Instructional image for Carrot Cake 03

  1. Next, add the walnuts, grated carrots, coconut, orange zest and orange juice and mix until well combined. The mixture will seem thick at first but as you mix it will thin out.
  2. Split between the three 8-inch cake tins and bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Frosting

Instructional image for Carrot Cake 04

  1. Add the cream cheese, butter, salt, vanilla extract and orange zest into a large mixing bowl. If you have a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until the mixture is well combined and creamy, about 4-5 minutes.
  2. Add the powdered sugar and milk powder and mix on low speed to begin with. Then turn up to high speed when there are no dry ingredients showing. Continue beating on high speed until pale and creamy, about 5 minutes.

To Assemble

Instructional image for Carrot Cake 05

  1. Add a dab of cream cheese frosting on your serving plate and spread around. Add the first layer of cake and press down.
  2. Add a ring of frosting around the cake. Then fill in with more frosting. Use an offset spatula to smoothen and flatten out.

Instructional image for Carrot Cake 06

  1. Add the next layer of cake. And repeat until you get to the next layer of cake.
  2. Once you have all 3 layers on, frost the outside and top of the cake and smoothen out.

Instructional image for Carrot Cake 07

  1. Add chopped walnuts around the bottom of the cake. And around the top.
  2. Pipe the carrots around the sides of the cake and then pipe the leaves on top.

Square image for Carrot Cake

My Top Tips for making Really Good Carrot Cake!

Storage

This glorious carrot cake can be stored in an airtight container for up to three days.

Milk powder

The milk powder used in this recipe is the type that is used to make long life milk and can be found in the long-life milk section of your supermarket. The milk powder is used to make the cream cheese frosting creamier and to help it set so that it holds its shape.

Frosting

Typically, a carrot cake has tart cream cheese frosting. Usually with a good squeeze of lemon juice. Mine is different in that the focus is on making it creamy, not lemony and it instead has orange zest which compliments the orange zest and orange juice found in the cake recipe.

Raisins

I do not use raisins in my baked goods. I personally don’t like it. But it does make the cake sweeter and more moist, so by all means add them if it’s your thing!

Other Recipes You Might Like!

If you loved this recipe, and you will! Here are some other yummy cake recipes to try next!

Instructional image for Really Good Chocolate Cake 10

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Make sure you leave a comment down bellow if you try this recipe, or just say hello! I’d love to hear from you! I’ll see you all on the following recipe!

N x

Pinterest image for Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake with slice taken out and another sitting in it

Really Good Carrot Cake

Serves 8

4.5 from 2 votes
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 2 hrs
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American

Ingredients

Carrot Cake

  • 3 cups grated carrots
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp bicarb soda ‘bicarbonate of soda’ or baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup raisins optional
  • 3/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 orange zest and juiced

Frosting

  • 2 blocks cream cheese chilled
  • 2 cups butter softened
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 orange zest
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup milk powder see notes
  • 1/2 batch buttercream frosting
  • 2 drops orange food gel
  • 2 drops green food gel
  • 2 cups walnuts chopped to decorate


Instructions

Carrot Cake

  • Preheat a fan forced oven to 160C / 325F. Spray the bottom and side of three 8-inch cake tins with oil and line the bottom with baking paper. Set aside.
  • Add the all-purpose flour, baking powder, bicarb soda, salt and cinnamon to a medium sized mixing bowl and use a whisk to combine. Set aside.
  • To a separate bowl, add the oil and brown sugar. Mix until well combined. Then add the eggs one at a time, mix well each time. Add the dry ingredients and use a spatula to mix until well combined.
  • Next, add the walnuts, grated carrots, coconut, orange zest and orange juice and mix until well combined. The mixture will seem thick at first but as you mix it will thin out.
  • Split between the three 8-inch cake tins and bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Frosting

  • Add the cream cheese, butter, salt, vanilla extract and orange zest into a large mixing bowl. If you have a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until the mixture is well combined and creamy, about 4-5 minutes.
  • Add the powdered sugar and milk powder and mix on low speed to begin with. Then turn up to high speed when there are no dry ingredients showing. Continue beating on high speed until pale and creamy, about 5 minutes.

Coloured buttercream

  • The buttercream carrots around the outside of the cake are made using my American buttercream recipe mixed with food gel. I used a medium piping tip for the carrots and a small round tip for the leaves.

To Assemble

  • Add a dab of cream cheese frosting on your serving plate and spread around. Add the first layer of cake and press down. Add the first layer of cake. Add a ring of frosting around the cake. Then fill in with more frosting. Use an offset spatula to smoothen and flatten out.
  • Add the next layer of cake. And repeat until you get to the next layer of cake. Once you have all 3 layers on, frost the outside and top of the cake and smoothen out.
  • Add chopped walnuts around the bottom of the cake and around the top.
  • Pipe the carrots around the sides of the cake and then pipe the leaves on top.

Notes

Storage
This glorious carrot cake can be stored in an airtight container for up to three days.
Milk powder
The milk powder used in this recipe is the type that is used to make long life milk and can be found in the long-life milk section of your supermarket. The milk powder is used to make the cream cheese frosting creamier and to help it set so that it holds its shape.
Frosting
Typically, a carrot cake has tart cream cheese frosting. Usually with a good squeeze of lemon juice. Mine is different in that the focus is on making it creamy, not lemony and it instead has orange zest which compliments the orange zest and orange juice found in the cake recipe.
 
 

Nutrition

Calories : 1262kcal
Carbonhydrates: 118g
Protein: 19g
Fat: 85g
Saturated Fat: 38g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 23g
Monounsaturated Fat : 18g
Trans Fat : 2g
Cholesterol: 220mg
Sodium: 1346mg
Potassium : 907mg
Fiber: 8g
Sugar : 70g
Vitamin A: 9762IU
Vitamin C: 17mg
Calcium: 349mg
Iron: 4mg
Nutrition Disclosure

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