Carrot cake is one of those cakes that's full of potential, but somehow people always seem to mess with perfection. I mean, really, who decided that adding pineapples and raisins to carrot cake was necessary? No one sits around eating pineapples and carrots together. It makes no sense. I also personally only like the pecans on the outside of the cake, but that's not a deal breaker. Don't even get me started on people who use buttercream instead of cream cheese icing for carrot cake. Admittedly, all of these things are extremely trivial... Sometimes I surprise even myself with the amount of useless thought I put into food.
I'm sure you've all noticed that I'm a huge fan of Jaclyn over at Cooking Classy because her pictures are always beautiful and everything she posts is absolutely amazing. This cake is a perfect example because, well, this cake is perfect. It is hands down the best carrot cake I have ever made or tried. The only thing I changed is the amount of cream cheese icing (I did one and a half of the recipe). The recipe itself is flawless. I wanted to savor this cake for as long as possible, but it was so good I found myself cutting a piece every time I walked by the fridge. I have zero restraint. I hope you enjoy!
Best Ever Carrot Cake
Recipe from Cooking Classy
Serving Size: 12 Servings
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup applesauce
2 cups granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3 cups lightly packed finely grated carrots*
1 recipe Cream Cheese Frosting, recipe follows
2/3 cup chopped pecans
Cream Cheese Frosting*
12 ounces (1 1/2 8 ounce packages) cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup salted butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla extract
6 cups powdered sugar
*This is 1 1/2 times the original recipe. Scale it back if you like a bit less frosting.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 9" round cake pans with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on two side. Grease foil and dust with flour, set aside. (This cake can also be made in a 9x13 dish just increase baking time to 40 - 50 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, I have even halved the recipe and baked it in and 8x8 dish).
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. In a large mixing bowl, with an electric mixer, combine vegetable oil, applesauce, eggs, granulated sugar and vanilla. Slowly stir in dry ingredients and mix until well blended. Stir in grated carrots. Divide mixture evenly into 2 prepared cake pans. Bake cakes in preheat oven for 35-39 minutes until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool 5 minutes in cake dishes before removing to a wire rack to cool. Lift cakes out of pan with foil overhang and allow to cool on wire rack completely before frosting (once cool I cut about 1/4" off the tops to even them out before frosting, you'll notice the centers don't rise as high as the rest). Flip cakes upside down when frosting with Cream Cheese Frosting. Sprinkle with chopped pecans. Store cake in airtight container.
- *Grate carrots on small grate of a grater. This is usually 6-7 medium carrots.
- In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, whip together cream cheese, butter and vanilla until fluffy. Stir in powdered sugar and mix until well combine.
Cream Cheese Frosting