Carrot cake is one of those traditional desserts that people hold near to their hearts. Seems that everyone I’ve talked to about it has a definite opinion about what makes a carrot cake “good”.   Some like it with walnuts… some like it with coconut… some like it with pineapple… some like it with raisins.  I like mine rather plain… without nuts or raisins… definitely with lots of spices… and standing mile-high with just a fringe of toasted coconut.   Whatever your preference, it all starts with a good recipe… and that’s where I can help you out!

I’ve made carrot cake only a handful of times in my life… and I think I’ve eaten it less than that.  Up until a few years ago the thought of a vegetable in my dessert wasn’t something I could wrap my brain around.  Another factor was that I’d always seen carrot cakes that were full of walnuts… and sorry to say but me no likey walnuts.  Nothing personal but I’m just not a fan. But when I started baking back in December of 2007, I discovered I could make things the way I like them.  This opened up a whole new world for me and now carrot cake… my carrot cake…is one of my favorites :)

I found this recipe on the Food Network site and was pleased as punch to see that it’s from my boyfriend Alton Brown.  What can I say… I have a wicked, mad crush on that geeky-boy and will try pretty much any recipe he puts out there.  This recipe is an absolute winner and you can add raisins or walnuts or well-drained pineapple if that suits your fancy.

Alton bakes this in a single 9″ round pan… but he uses one that is 3″ high.  I didn’t have that size and I was very concerned a single 9″ x 2″ pan would not be enough to contain all the batter.  Instead I used two 7″ x 2″ round pans and made this into a tall layer cake. Next time I might even slice each of the layers in half to create a 4-layer cake… because believe me… there will indeed be a next time!  This cake is moist and delicious… not at all soggy or “wet”.  I think Alton’s method of tossing the grated carrots in the dry ingredients keeps the moisture content nicely balanced. Another success-factor is grating the carrots a bit larger than what I have done in the past.  Previous recipes I’ve made used finely grated carrots and it seemed they were almost pureed which added quite a bit of excess moisture.  But this recipe here?  Faaaaaaaaabulous!  I highly recommend you make it. Soon!

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a $50 gift card… you can’t win if you don’t enter… so… whatcha waitin on…? Go enter!!!

Carrot Cake

Adapted from Alton Brown


12 ounces, approximately 2 1/2 cups, all-purpose flour
12 ounces grated carrots, medium grate, approximately 6 medium
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 ounces sugar, approximately 1 1/3 cups
2 ounces dark brown sugar, approximately 1/4 cup firmly packed
3 large eggs
6 ounces plain yogurt
6 ounces vegetable oil
3/4 cup toasted coconut – optional
Cream Cheese Frosting, recipe follows


Preheat oven to 350° F.
Prepare two 7” x 2” cake pans with baking spray. Set aside.

Put the carrots into a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Put the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and process for 5 seconds. Add this mixture to the carrots and toss until they are well-coated with the flour.

In the bowl of the food processor combine the sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and yogurt.

With the processor still running drizzle in the vegetable oil. Pour this mixture into the carrot mixture and stir until just combined. Pour into the prepared cake pans and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 45 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325° F and bake for another 20 minutes or until the cake reaches 205° to 210° F in the center.

Remove the pans from the oven and allow cake to cool 15 minutes in the pan. After 15 minutes, turn the cakes out onto a rack and allow cakes to cool completely. After cakes have cooled completely, frost the top of the bottom cake with cream cheese frosting… add top layer and frost the entire assembled layer cake. Press in toasted coconut around the sides if desired.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

16 ounces cream cheese
4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3-4 cups powdered sugar, sifted

In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese and butter on medium just until blended. Add the vanilla and beat until combined. With the speed on low, add the powdered sugar in 4 batches and beat until smooth between each addition. You may decide that 3 cups is sweet enough… or prefer to go for all 4 cups… entirely up to you.

Place the frosting in the refrigerator for 5 to 10 minutes before using.

Yield: approximately 3.5 cups – you will have extra frosting… or maybe not ;)

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23 Responses to "Carrot Cake w Cream Cheese Frosting"

  1. I adore carrot cake. I have heard many rave reviews of Alton’s recipe, one that I must try!!! Your pictures are so beautiful!

  2. How great… I have to make a carrot cake on Friday for a friend. I hate trying new recipes when I’m cooking for someone else, but this seems like a no-brainer!!

  3. Krystle says:

    Looks moist and delicious! I have never been a carrot cake fan cause like you I just cant imagine veggies in my dessert. But I might have to try this one now, cause it sure does look good!

  4. ingrid says:

    EM! I’m so excited. I’ve always stayed away from carrot cake because of the raisins and the kitchen sink that was baked into ‘em but no more! Yay, thanks for sharing! Yours looks perfect and am certain tastes even better!

    How much does it bake up? I’ve got 6 inch pans, use 2 or 3, do you think? OR I have a 10 inch. I do have a 9×3 silcone pan but am leery of using it.

  5. Maybe says:

    I love carrot cake, and I like it just like you : plain ! The first time I tasted a carrot cake was in a Starbucks ; I loved it so much that I made one and immediately fell in love with it !

  6. this cake looks delicious! I was just searching for a carrot cake with cream cheese recipe! thanks for sharing

  7. Amanda says:

    I too enjoy Alton’s carrot cake recipe. It’s not so fussy as others I’ve tried.

  8. Elissa says:

    Carrot cake is a personal favorite of mine. Yours looks bakery professional! Honestly I can’t do cakes that tall and level and straight! The coconut is so pretty on the sides.

  9. Monica H says:

    Carrot cakes is one of my absolute favorites! So much that that’s what I chose as my wedding cake. And a year later it was still good :-)

    I am definitely going to give this one a try!

    Oh, and my neighbor looks like Alton Brown- ha!

  10. Jackie says:

    Your cake looks so delicious it actually has me thinking about making one and, like you used to be, I’m not a carrot cake person. Well done!

  11. Giordana says:

    Hiiii — as a loyal follower of your blog, I have noticed, obviously, your lemon obsession. I like very tart (kind of sour) lemon things too, so I tried this recipe, but cut out a whole cup of sugar (three cups seemed like intense overkill). I hope this is tart enough for you! And if it isn’t, cut an extra half cup! I can’t remember where I got this recipe (, or perhaps your blog??)

    Lemon Bars II

    1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1/2 cup granulated sugar
    2 cups flour
    1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

    6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
    3 cups granulated sugar
    2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons)
    1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
    1 cup flour
    Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

    - Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
    - For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking sheet, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides. Chill.
    - Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.
    - For the filling, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Pour over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the filling is set. Let cool to room temperature.
    - Cut into triangles and dust with confectioners’ sugar.

  12. Heidi Namba says:

    You said you’ve been baking since 2007?!! Well heck, your desserts look darn near professional! This carrot cake looks lovely. I have not been able to find a carrot cake recipe that I really really enjoy but you have sure talked this Alton Brown recipe up so I might just have to try it. Me no likey walnuts either so I definitely won’t add those. Hopefully my cake will look as perfect as yours.

    Wonderful blog and awesome photos! I will be checking in frequently.


  13. Swee says:

    Mmm I love Carrot cakes too. I like them with nuts, orange zest, pineapple and some raisins. For cream cheese frosting, I usually add some lime zest in it for a kick.

  14. Dez says:

    I’m with you on Alton- he is kind of geeky hot.
    I will definitely try this- I am quite allergic to walnuts I recently discovered, and buying carrot cake seems to be right out whether from a store or a bake sale.

  15. Linda says:

    OMG that cake looks fantastic. The cream cheese frosting is soo glossy, oh and the inside of the cake looks soo moist. My family loves carrot cake, I’m definitely going to try this out. Thanks for the recipe

  16. Jamie says:

    Seriously, Em…I think I have come to your site 5 times just to salivate over this cake! I think I need to make it asap!

  17. Sarah says:

    Wow. That slice of cake looks perfect! I’ve been searching for the perfect carrot cake (just like I’ve been searching for the perfect cookie, brownie, cheesecake, etc.) and I don’t know why I never thought to try AB’s! This is moving to the top of my ever growing to-bake list.

  18. [...] filling I used… there really isn’t one.  I used some leftover cream cheese frosting from this recipe and added some very well drained crushed pineapple .   I can’t really say how much of [...]

  19. DAVE ID says:

    That looks awesome, thick, dense and moist. I want some.

  20. i did made the carrot cake, i was out of this world, too delicious.thanks for this great recepie

  21. Too good, loved the moist texture and it the taste u can say that it melts in your mouth. thanks

  22. Carlie says:

    YUM! Looks perfect. I was looking for a tried and true version with no extras to bake with my currently-carrot-cake-obsessed three year old. Thanks for posting a fabulous version!!!

  23. Anna says:

    I’m making this carrot cake as we speak. =) Hope it turns out. I had to make it with light brown sugar b/c I didn’t have any dark brown sugar in the house. =/

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