This carrot cake recipe is perfect: just the right amount of spice, with a super moist and tight velvety crumb and the smoothest whipped mascarpone cheese frosting.
Sweet and lush with just the right amount of cinnamon spice and a zing of freshly grated ginger. This carrot cake is dense, tender and chewy in all the right ways.
I love carrot cake with passion. This has always been one of my favorite types of cakes ever since I was little. I was obsessed with carrots because I wanted to be a rabbit and for a long time carrots were the only thing I ate. Fortunately, carrot cake fits perfectly into my diet.
Carrot cake is one of those classic cakes that is often overlooked in favor of more showy counterpoints: a dense fondant chocolate cake, a perfectly chewy white cake, and funfetti to party. But for me, carrot cake will be a favorite forever. Soft and mellow, soft and tender, and so mellow. I feel like I could eat carrot cake forever and ever.
This particular carrot cake recipe is extra special due to two things: fresh ginger and a mascarpone cheese frosting that is out of this world.
What is carrot cake
Carrot cake is a cake made with carrots! Typically, carrot cake is made with grated carrots mixed with a spicy paste, sometimes sprinkled with nuts, fruit, and coconut. They are almost always served with cream cheese frosting. Since carrots are naturally sweet and quite juicy, it makes perfect sense that they are used in cakes. They give moisture, softness and texture to the cake.
Why You Should Make This Carrot Cake Recipe
- it contains carrots, so you can consider it a healthy food!
- this is one of the easiest cakes to make, very forgiving and perfect for novice bakers
- you don’t need a blender, just two bowls
- it’s perfectly sized: just an 8 inch sheet of cake, practically the size of a snack
- you want to celebrate spring or Easter
- carrot cake is love, especially when glazed with cream cheese
Why this is the best carrot cake recipe
This is the carrot cake that I have been making for ages. It’s basically the carrot cake (minus the frosting) from Smitten Kitchen, with just a few small tweaks: I leave out the nutmeg, replace the ground ginger with freshly grated ginger, replace the granulated sugar with a mixture of brown sugar and granulated sugar, and leave out the raisins and nuts.
For me, the best carrot cake is dense but chewy, chewy and velvety, full of carrot sweetness without harming the crumb. Coconut, raisins, pineapple, walnuts can only dream of being in this cake. It’s an outright carrot cake, the kind your fork will slip off without hitting anything on the way down.
Carrot Cake Frosting
Carrot cake should always be paired with cream cheese frosting and this is my favorite, a cheesecake / tiramisu inspired frosting with mascarpone for a little extra luxury. The frosting isn’t too sweet, just a perfect pillow of tangy and slightly sweet cream cheese, much like the whipped layers you find in tiramisu.
Finally, part of the charm of this cake is that it is a simple 8 inch sheet cake. This is the perfect size for small gatherings and since this is a sheet cake it is very easy to decorate – just use an offset spatula to apply the frosting on top. I love sheet cakes because they are so much less temperamental than layered cakes. They feel more like an everyday cake, a cake you can bake and just sit around, waiting for you to cut a slice for your afternoon coffee.
How to make a carrot cake
- Dry ingredients. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, then set aside.
- Wet ingredients. In another bowl, whisk together oil and sugar until blended. Add the eggs, one at a time, making sure to incorporate them well.
- Combine. Stir in the flour mixture until combined, then stir in the carrots and freshly grated ginger.
- Cook. Pour batter into an 8-inch square cake pan of lightly buttered parchment paper and bake until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Let cool and make the icing. Let the cake cool completely. While the cake is cooling, make the frosting by whisking the heavy cream, sugar, cream cheese and mascarpone.
- Gel. Top the carrot cake with the frosting and use an offset spatula to smooth it out. Slice and enjoy!
The ingredients for this carrot cake are pretty standard: all-purpose flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, oil, brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, carrots, and fresh ginger. Just a few notes to make this the best carrot cake possible:
I like to peel and grate whole carrots for a carrot cake. Freshly grated carrots are generally much juicier and moister than the grated carrots you buy at the grocery store. If you want your carrot cake to look absolutely great, use the thin side of your grater for a very soft and tender dough. You can also use a food processor or the coarse side of a grater, but the carrot pieces will be a bit thicker. The key to this carrot cake is thin carrot strips which are super delicate.
You might be wondering why this is an oil cake versus a butter cake. The answer is humidity! Because oil is liquid at room temperature while butter can be solid, oil-based cakes tend to be wetter and more tender. Oil cakes also have a softer crumb due to the fact that it is easier to mix the oil in your cake batter. My preference for a neutral cooking oil is canola, safflower, grape seed or sunflower.
Brown and granulated sugar
A mix of brown and granulated sugar means the best of both worlds: granulated sugar for sweetness and brown sugar for the rich caramelized flavors and moisture.
Most people don’t think of cinnamon when they think of carrot cake, but almost all carrot cakes are spicy! The warming spices of cinnamon blend perfectly with the sweetness of carrots.
Ginger and cinnamon often go together, especially in baked goods (think gingerbread or ginger). Most carrot cakes use powdered ginger, but I love the freshness and tanginess of freshly grated ginger. This will add a little extra oomph to your cake that will keep you coming back for a slice and a slice.
How to decorate a carrot cake
I like to keep it simple – one of the perks of making a sheet cake is how easy it is to frost, you just have to choose the top, no need to frost and layer. Simply use an offset spatula to apply the frosting on top. I am in love with Japanese deco roll cakes where they transform tiny patterns into the cake batter and this inspired me to make tiny little carrots to sprinkle the surface of the cake. I made a quick royal frosting, but you can also use melted candy or just color the frosting with cream cheese.
If you are looking for other Easter inspired dishes, give them a try!
Carrot cake is the happiest of all cakes! Hope you make this cake because you deserve it!
Carrot Cake Recipe
Just the right amount of spice, with a super soft and tight velvety crumb and the smoothest whipped mascarpone cheese frosting.
- 1 Chopped off all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ten tablespoon canola oil 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons
- 1/2 Chopped off brown sugar
- 1/2 Chopped off sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1.5 cups carrots grated and peeled, about 2-3 medium carrots
- 1 teaspoon Ginger grated fresh
- 4 oz Cream cheese ambient temperature
- 4 oz marscapone ambient temperature
- 1/4 Chopped off sugar
- 1/4 Chopped off heavy cream
If you want to make a round cake out of it, you can bake two 6 inch rounds and stack them for a classic layered carrot cake or bake in a single 8 or 9 inch round.
Carrot Cake Recipe
Quantity per serving
Calories from Fat 141
% Daily Value *
Large 15.7 g24%
Saturated Fat 4.6g29%
Sodium 195 mg8%
Potassium 68 mg2%
Carbohydrates 21.3 g7%
Fiber 0.5 g2%
Protein 2.8 g6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.