Embrace the Easter season with this traditional carrot cake coated in a rich cream cheese frosting.
I understand there is no shortage of carrot cake recipes out there, but this is a family favorite that is packed with cinnamon flavor and not too sweet.
Plus, the surprisingly large raisin opposition will be happy to know this recipe doesn’t include raisins (although, if you love raisins like me, you can always add them).
Carrots and Springtime
Carrot cake is made most often in the spring around Easter, but here in New Jersey, carrots don’t actually come in season until June. You know I prioritize cooking with what’s in season, so maybe it’s a bit premature to be making carrot cake in March and April, but you don’t mess with tradition.
Two funny stories about this carrot cake:
- I made this for Easter a few years ago and there was a round of applause for the sheer fact that the cake doesn’t include raisins.
- My mom once made a 3-layer version of this cake and put it on the roof of the car while strapping my sister and me in our car seats (it was quite a few years ago) and drove around the block before it flew off the roof and splattered in the street.
Why did my carrots turn green?
The most common issue I’ve had when making carrot cake is when the shredded carrots turn green after they’re baked. The first thing to know is that the carrots are completely safe to eat and the color change will not affect the taste at all.
Sometimes, when carrots are baked they turn green due to an imbalance in the pH levels in the batter. If the carrots come into contact with too much baking soda, the alkaline balance gets thrown off and can trigger a color change from orange to green.
This can happen if the baking soda isn’t fully mixed into the batter or if there is too much baking soda or baking powder in the recipe. I have tested this recipe using a small enough amount of acid to keep the carrots from changing color, but if it still happens, don’t worry!
- 3 cups flour
- 1 ¾ cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 ¾ teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 cup canola oil
- 3 cups carrots grated (about 14 ounces)
- 3 eggs beaten
- 8 ounce can crushed pineapple
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 12 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- ¾ cup butter room temperature
- 3 ½ cups confectioners sugar
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees and prepare 2 8-inch round cake pans.
- In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon.
- Add remaining ingredients and stir until combined.
- Pour into prepared pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Allow to cool fully before frosting.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add confectioners sugar and mix until smooth.