Carrot cake and Easter seem to go hand in hand. We have a great, easy carrot sheet cake in our first cookbook that we love, but this is the carrot cake for celebrations and also for murder by sugar. This is my friend Jeni’s (who I always seem to be stealing recipes from) trademark cake, and it comes from my all-time favorite all-purpose cookbook. If you’re thinking, “Ooh, carrot cake is healthy, What to Expect the First Year told me to make it for my baby’s first birthday,” this is definitely not that cake. It is to cake what Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs are to eggs. But it’s definitely worth it.
You’ll need your typical cake-making ingredients–flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, vegetable oil, eggs, vanilla, and buttermilk. Then you’ll need cinnamon, carrots, crushed pineapple, pecans (if desired), and coconut. And butter. And we haven’t even gotten to the frosting. Or the buttermilk glaze.
Preheat your oven to 350. Grease and flour 2 9″ round pans and set aside.
Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Combine eggs, vegetable oil, buttermilk,
and vanilla in a large bowl and beat at medium speed until smooth. Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until combined. Fold in the carrots
and then fold in the pineapple,
and pecans (if using).
Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans and then bake for 25-30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Now this is where things get crazy. You know our buttermilk syrup? Yeah, we’re pretty much going to drizzle a slightly undercooked version of that all over the cakes. While the cakes are baking, combine the buttermilk glaze ingredients (the recipe is below) in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 4 minutes, stirring constantly, until the syrup is light golden. Remove from heat and set aside.
When the cakes are done baking, remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Drizzle the warm buttermilk glaze over the cakes and allow the cakes to cool completely (I actually recommend popping these in the fridge and letting them chill after they’ve cooled so the cake is easier to frost).
To make the frosting, you’ll need butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla. You can also add a little almond extract if you like it. Which I do.
Beat together the softened cream cheese, butter, and extracts. Add 3/4 lb. of powdered sugar and then test the frosting–if you like it sweeter and softer, add a little more, but I really like a pronounced cream cheese flavor, so I go easy on the sugar.
Tear four thin strips of wax paper or aluminum foil and form a square on the plate that you’ll be serving the cake on. Carefully remove one of the cakes from the pan and place it on top of the strips.
Gently ice the top of the cake layer and then top with the second layer. Ice the cake completely with remaining frosting. Decorate with extra coconut and pecans if desired.
I desire it because I’m a horrible cake decorator and it hides all my mistakes.
For best presentation, it’s better to refrigerate the cake overnight and then let it return to room temperature before serving.
Carrot Cake Supreme
This dense, rich, old-fashioned carrot cake recipe is perfect for any springtime celebration (or, really, anytime!)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoons table salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 large eggs
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cup grated carrot
1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, drained
2/3 cup coconut
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted (optional)
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup butter
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Frosting
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 pound powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease and flour 2 9″ cake pans. Set aside.
Combine the flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, oil, buttermilk, and vanilla on high speed until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and beat on low speed until combined. Fold in the carrots. Fold in the pineapple, coconut, and pecans (if using). Divide the batter evenly among the pans and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a pick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean.
While the cakes are baking, prepare the buttermilk glaze. Drizzle the glaze over the warm cakes and then cool the cakes completely on a wire rack. When the cakes are cool, tear four thin strips of parchment or wax paper or aluminum foil and make a square on the serving plate. Place one layer on top of the square. Prepare the cream cheese frosting and spread some frosting on the bottom layer of the cake. Place another layer on top of the frosted layer. Frost the entire cake with cream cheese frosting and decorate with coconut and chopped pecans if desired. For best presentation, refrigerate overnight before serving.
This cake has many steps and can be overwhelming to make all at once. The cake layers can be made in advance and refrigerated or frozen (in the pan, with the buttermilk glaze) before icing the cake.
Wow, this looks like the ultimate carrot cake! Looks so good!
This looks great…can’t wait to give it a whirl. I don’t know if my family loves carrot cake though. That worries me a bit…an entire cake for just me! I usually don’t mind indulging but that could spell trouble.
Hope all is well.
We had carrot cake at our wedding too! And hubby’s birthday is coming up next month. I see carrot cake in our future… if I can manage to wait that long!
Oh, this cake…..
I want it.
Glad to hear that things are getting more back to normal for you.
Nothing nicer than a new, fresh recipe for the always wonderful carrot cake! This one appears to be absolutely delicious!
This looks amazing and I can’t wait to try it! Also, I’m so glad that Sam is back on his feet and back at home. love you!
Wow! that looks delicious!!!
This is what I call the “Utah Carrot Cake”. We have a family recipe that is also to die for but I am from the south so no pineapple, no coconut, no glaze, BUT my Sister’s MIL has a recipe almost identical to this one (she is a born and bred Utahan :)hence my nickname… and it is super yummy! Carrot Cake is my favorite cake next to chocolate of course 😉
Karmen, that’s hilarious because it comes from the Southern Living cookbook, haha! Maybe it’s Utah’s Southern Carrot Cake? 🙂
So glad that you and hubby are back in commission. Carrot cake is one of my favorite desserts, but I’ve never had it with pineapple or coconut. What brilliant flavors to combine.
Ln your buttermilk glaze, you have 1/2 butter. Is it 1/2 stick butter or 1/2 cup butter? Thanks
Fixed it! 🙂 It should be 1/2 c. Thanks for pointing it out! 🙂
Could this just be made in a 9″x13″ pan, for one layer?
You know, I probably wouldn’t. It’s pretty dense and I think the edges would be done way before the center (I even experienced a little of that in the 8×8 square pan).
Wow. this looks delish. Kate, I’m pretty sure I knew you in Logan. congrats on your successes :)) and keep inspiring me!!
Mandie, who are you?? 🙂
I am so excited to try this! We had carrot cake for our wedding cake because my husband loves it (don’t worry, we had chocolate cupcakes on the side!) and I have looked and looked for a yummy recipe to make on our anniversary or maybe just this week because, hey…we can still be all in love and stuff even if it isn’t our anniversary, right! So thanks! (You guys are seriously my go-to girls when I need inspiration. Yesterday I was going to make roasted potatoes for dinner and I was lookin’ in the spice cabinet to try to decide what to put on them and then I thought…why think about this. You know OBB probably has some super yummy recipe you could make work. And…. you did! I love it!)
Good grief! I can see it on my hips now. I’ve decided that this will be my birthday cake this year. Yum yum!
So glad to hear that your love is home and getting better. 🙂
I really should try to make a carrot cake some time. This one makes it seem rather intimidating though, maybe it’s just because it uses a lot of ingredient and that trasnlates to problems when you have like 2 feet of counter space in your kitchen.
I have made this recipe several times. The best carrot cake ever!!! I did tweak it and added 1 Cup of Golden Raisins. I dazzled my friends with this cake and they just rave about it.
There is a local place that makes the best carrot cake, we were trying to dissect what was in it and I am pretty sure it was all these ingredients. Thanks for saving me lots of time trying to perfect a recipe. I can’t wait to try it.
I absolutely love carrot cake and yet I’ve never made it. Thanks for this recipe!!
Ugh, living in hospitals is the worst! I gained 10 lbs when my son was in for a ruptured appendix. Glad you guys are doing better. 🙂
My family thinks it is not a true carrot cake if it does not have raisins in it as well. Would a cup of raisins be enough for this amount of batter or is it too much? I am concerned with the raisins absorbing the moisture and making the cake too dry.
Thanks for another great recipe! I am glad to hear your husband is on the road to recovery and you can breath now.
Diane, this cake will DEFINITELY not be too dry (because of the glaze). I’d throw in 3/4 c, see where you are, then add a little more if you need to. 🙂
I am with all the other folks – I LOVE carrot cake. Adding buttermilk to the recipe is sheer genius. I am excited to give this new recipe a try – right after I buy more flour (all used up on bread and cookies!!) Thanks and hope your hubby is back on his feet soon.
There’s nothing I love more than a good carrot cake and yours looks just fabulous, Kate. What a wonderful, classic recipe! I have got to try this sometime this season.
This looks delish! But I hate eating pineapple any way except fresh. Can I omit the pineapple in the cake and will is still turn out okay?
Katherine, you seriously can’t taste the pineapple at all. If you really, really don’t want it, I’d replace it with applesauce or something similar.
It’s good to hear your husband is doing better!
Glad to hear your hubby is doing better.
This looks like a dark delicious carrot cake….a winner among so many colorless carrot cakes one sees. Copied it already!
Muahahaha! This cake is so evil. But, sometimes evil is a good thing;) Where’s my invite for cake and a diet coke?
Jeni–I was all set to invite you when Sam had to go to the hospital. The WORST part is that most of the cake went in the garbage because no one was around to eat it!
I love love love carrot cake. I’m making this scrumdiddlyumptious (thank you, Willy Wonka, for words that accurately describe foods with this magnitude of yum!)cake this weekend. It’s totally happening. And, incidentally, I clicked on the link for your fav cookbook. . is it really $129?!?!
Barnes and Noble has it for about $25
whew. . .thanks! I was seriously disconcerted by the price tag I had found.
(PS So glad your husband is doing better! See what happens when my vision gets clouded with cream cheese frosting? I forget the important stuff!)
This looks very good! I’m glad your husband is home now. I’m sure you had a stressful week!
Sort of regretting clicking through now… 😉 Carrot cake is my absolute favorite, and I’m not a fan of cakes, really — but I am a huge fan of cream cheese frosting and would probably eat anything if it had enough frosting on top. I might have to try this one out, even though it completely messes with my “healthy” carrot cake reasoning! Oh, and by “might have to try” I mean scanning my cupboard contents for ingredients right this very second. Blerg!