Updated: Dec 21, 2019
This summer, I found that I'd lost my old carrot cake recipe. Was it a link? In a cookbook I don't have with me? Written on a scrap of paper and lost to my kitchen? I had no idea.
Now I have a new recipe I've fallen in love with. It's an oil cake, so it's super moist. (I also can't forget to take the butter out of the fridge beforehand if the recipe has no butter!) Ingredients and instructions are below, along with a recipe for cream cheese frosting near the end.
Ingredients (in the order I added them to the bowl):
1½ cups sugar
½ cup dark brown sugar
1½ cups vegetable oil
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
2½ cups flour
3 cups grated carrots
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
1 cup chopped pecans (optional: toasted)
½ grated/shredded coconut (optional: toasted)
Note: There are no raisins here because I don't tend to put them in carrot cake. But you can add about a cup of raisins! Likewise, you don't need to have pecans, pineapple, or coconut if those aren't things that you like.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9x9 inch square pans.
Pop the coconut and pecans in the oven in a pan for 5-10 minutes while you work on the rest of the cake. You can put a little extra in there to decorate the cake later!
Mix the eggs, oil, vanilla and sugars until combined. ( I used a hand mixer for under a minute.)
Add baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Mix until combined. I typically mix here slightly longer than needed to make up for the fact that I did not premix these with the flour.
Add flour and fold in until just combined. Then add the pineapple, coconut, and pecans, continue folding until combined.
Split the batter between the two cake pans. Bake for around 35 mins, until the cakes are golden brown.
When the cakes are done, don't turn them out of the pans immediately. Wait 10 - 15 mins, then turn them out on plates or wire racks.
Cream cheese frosting:
16 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar (sifted)
Pinch of salt (omit if you used salted butter)
2½ teaspoons vanilla extract
Use a hand mixer on medium to beat the cream cheese and butter for at least 2 minutes.
Add the vanilla and salt. Beat until combined.
Add the powdered sugar. Beat on medium high until light and fluffy. (Around 4 minutes).
Note: This will definitely make more frosting than is necessary for the cake. It's delicious, though, so I see that as more of a solution than a problem. Also, if you're making this in hot weather, the frosting may refuse to be extremely light and fluffy. It also has a tendency to melt. Possible solutions: A crumb coat or eating the cake very quickly.
Once the cakes have cooled, put a layer of cream cheese frosting between them. I also sprinkled some coconut and pecans. Then, cover the cake with frosting and decorate as you like!
I got excited and wanted to cover my frosting job, so I took a cutting board and used it as a straightedge to put pecan and coconut stripes on the cake!
I took this cake to the math department. We had had visiting students who were leaving after a few months, and I figured cake was a good way to say goodbye.
I found the original recipe on Brown Eyed Baker, where I get a lot of my cake recipes. The above recipe includes any adjustments that I made.