Cheryl's Favorite Carrot Cake


For the cake:

  •     2-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (12 1/2 ounces)
  •     1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  •     1 teaspoon baking soda
  •     1-1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  •     1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  •     1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  •     1/2 teaspoon table salt
  •     1 pound medium carrots (6 to 7 carrots), peeled
  •     1-1/2 cups granulated sugar (10 1/2 ounces)
  •     1/2 cup packed light brown sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
  •     4 large eggs
  •     1-1/2 cups vegetable oil , safflower oil, or canola oil

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

  •     8 ounces cream cheese , softened but still cool
  •     5 tablespoons unsalted butter softened, but still cool
  •     1 tablespoon sour cream
  •     1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  •     1-1/4 cups confectioners' sugar (4 1/2 ounces)


Step 1: For the cake: Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9 inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray. Line bottom of pans with parchment and spray parchment.

Step 2: Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt in large bowl; set aside.

Step 3: In food processor fitted with large shredding disk (see below for mixer method), shred carrots (you should have about 3 cups); transfer carrots to bowl and set aside.
Step 4: In bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment (or in large bowl and using hand-held mixer), beat granulated and brown sugars and eggs on medium-high until thoroughly combined, about 45 seconds.

Step 5: Reduce speed to medium; with mixer running, add oil in a slow, steady stream, being careful to pour oil against inside of bowl (if oil begins to splatter, reduce speed to low until oil is incorporated, then resume adding oil). Increase speed to high and mix until mixture is light in color and well emulsified, about 45 seconds to 1 minute longer.

Step 6: Turn off mixer and stir in carrots and dry ingredients by hand until incorporated and no streaks of flour remain.

Step 7: Pour into prepared pans and bake until toothpick or skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 30 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking time. Cool cakes to room temperature in pan on wire rack, about 2 hours.

Step 8: For the frosting: When cake is cool, mix cream cheese, butter, sour cream, and vanilla at medium high speed in clean bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment ( or in large bowl using handheld mixer) until well combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Add confectioners’ sugar and mix until very fluffy, about 1 minute.

Step 9: Run paring knife around edge of cake to loosen from pan. Invert cake onto wire rack, peel off parchment, then invert again onto serving platter.

Step 10: To assemble the cake: Trim layers if necessary. Remove any ragged edges. Slightly rounded tops are easily covered by icing, but excessively large bumps may have to be cut off.  Brush all crumbs from cakes. Loose crumbs make icing difficult. Place the bottom layer upside down on a cardboard cake circle. This gives a flat surface for the filling. Place in the center of a turntable or serving plate. Spread icing on bottom layer out to the edges.  Place top layer on bottom layer, right side up. Ice the cake.