This version of Classic Carrot Cake is moist and perfectly spiced. Its light texture and fine crumb come from preparing the carrots in a food processor rather than grating them, as recommended by (sadly no more…) Fine Cooking magazine.

Here, it’s all dressed up with cinnamon sticks, small pine cones, greenery and dried orange slices for a November birthday.  The recipe is increased by 50% to make a triple layer 9″ cake.

Nothing says Happy Birthday like giving the celebrant the cake of their dreams. 🙂


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Carrot Cake

Moist and perfectly spiced, the light texture and fine crumb come from preparing the carrots in a food processor rather than grating them. The frosting is just the right combination of tangy and sweet.

  • Yield: Makes a two-layer 9" cake. 1x



For the cake

  • 72 g or ½ c dried currants (zante)
  • 454 g or 1 lb carrots, peeled and finely chopped in a food processor (should look like couscous)
  • 270 g or c all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground allspice
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • 85 g or ¾ c pecans or walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 4 large eggs
  • 300 g or c granulated sugar
  • 150 g or ½ c dark brown sugar
  • 280 g or c vegetable oil

For the frosting

  • 340 g or 12 oz lb cream cheese, softened
  • 170 g or 6 oz unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 480 g or 4 c confectioners’ sugar
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt


Make the cake

  1. Position a rack in the centre of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9″ cake pans and line them with parchment. If using a good quality baking spray, apply it just before filling the pans.
  2. Soak the currants in ½ cup hot tap water for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves. Transfer ¼ cup of this mixture to a medium bowl and add the drained currants and the chopped nuts; toss to combine.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and sugars until blended. Add the oil and beat until emulsified. Beat in the flour mixture in one or two additions. Add the grated carrots and beat until just combined.
  5. Remove the bowl from the stand. Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, stir in the currant-nut mixture.
  6. Divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean (about 45 minutes). Cool slightly before removing the cake from the pans, peeling off the parchment paper and cooling completely on a rack.

Make the frosting

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and salt until light and fluffy (2 minutes). Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, mixing on low to combine. Once all of the sugar is mixed in, increase the speed to medium-high and beat until fluff (1 minute).

Assemble the cake

  1. Place one cake layer on a turntable. Spread with a layer of frosting; position the next layer. Cover the sides and top of the cake with a thin coating of frosting. Refrigerate until firm (15–30 minutes).
  2. Frost, the cake with the final layer of frosting, getting it as smooth as you can. Refrigerate until firm (15–30 minutes) before garnishing with the toppings of your choice.


Adapted from Fine Cooking, Classic Carrot Cake.

  • Author: Helen Kain