Carrot Cake

I love a good carrot cake.  My friend Kim who, up until a year ago I worked with every day, makes a really, really delicious carrot cake.  She would bring it in upon request and for celebrations at work – and because hers was so good, I didn’t really have a reason to make it myself. 

But, then I left that job and Kim and I no longer work together.  Sad face. 

That means I haven’t had carrot cake in over a year.  Double sad face.

Today, since it is my birthday, I decided it was time to treat myself.  I spent all last night searching for the perfect recipe, researching techniques, frostings, glazes – you name it and I finally decided that this would be the one.

And oh my heavens.  Happy Birthday to me.

You have to try this recipe.  It’s amazing.  It’s moist, flavorful, spicy and warm, and topped with a creamy, buttery cream-cheese frosting.  The frosting isn’t too sweet so it’s a perfect accompaniment to the rich cake.  The cakes are coated with a buttermilk glaze right after they come out of the oven, so all of that yummy, caramel-ly, buttery goodness gets soaked up into the cakes before you frost them.

Seriously.  Do yourself a favor and make this.  Tonight.  Blame it on my birthday – we all know that birthday cake has no calories – so get to it!


Carrot Cake
Yield:  12 servings
Prep Time:  30 minutes ♦ Bake Time:  25 minutes

Cake Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 large eggs
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups grated carrot
1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
1 (3 1/2-ounce) can flaked coconut  (I used the kind in a plastic bag)
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
Buttermilk Glaze Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 Tablespoon white/light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
Cream Cheese Frosting:
2 sticks (16 Tablespoons) unsalted butter
16 oz cream cheese (2 blocks)
4 cups confectioners sugar
1 TBS clear vanilla
4 TBS whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare three 8 inch round cake pans by lining them with parchment paper and spraying with cooking spray.  In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and set aside.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, combing eggs, sugar, vegetable oil and buttermilk until well mixed.  Add flour mixture, and mix until just combined.  Fold in carrots, pineapple, coconut and walnuts and mix well with a spoon.

Pour batter into three cake pans and bake 20-25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.  While the cakes are baking, prepare the buttermilk glaze.  In a large dutch-oven type pan, combine all ingredients except vanilla over medium heat.  Bring to a boil, and allow to boil for 4 minutes, stirring often.  Make sure you use a large pan as this will bubble up a LOT while cooking.   Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

Immediately brush cakes with buttermilk glaze (use all of it, equally distributed between cakes) and let sit until completely cooled, about 30-45 minutes. 

Frost with cream cheese frosting.  To prepare, whip butter and cream cheese together in the bowl of a stand mixer until smooth and fluffy.  Add confectioners sugar, vanilla and whipping cream, and pulse until moistened.  Whip mixture until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.  Do NOT attempt to frost a warm cake – let it cool completely. 

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Source:  Southern Living via

leave a comment your way - using facebook or disqus:

  • Carrie@bakeahoicmama

    I’m a sucker for carrot cake. Looks amazing!!

  • Perfecting Pru

    Happy birthday Erin! This cake looks great. I made a carrot cake a while ago and it wasn’t great. I’m hoping your recipe will be just right! X

  • Lynsey James

    Made this last weekend and it was AMAZING! I will certainly add it to my recipe book, but have just a couple questions:
    1) I did not have enough batter for three layers. Were yours rather thin layers?
    2) There’s no mention of when to add the vanilla to the glaze, so I added it at the end. Is that correct?
    3) Should I have removed the cakes from the pans prior to adding the glaze? I didn’t and it made it a little difficult.
    4) When lining the pans with parchment, did you line the sides as well?
    Thanks for any input! Again, this was a wonderfully delicious cake and got raves from the birthday boy :)

    • Erin {Lemon Sugar}

      Hi Lynsey, sorry I didn’t see this until now. :) Here’s your answers:
      1) I’ve used it with a 9 inch pan and an 8 inch pan. I think the 8 inch pans are better and thicker. But yes, the layers are thinner than you think they should be.
      2) Yes, that’s correct. Remove from heat and add vanilla.
      3) It’s easier to glaze when they’re out of the pan, definitely. That being said, I usually glaze them in the pan and make my life difficult.
      4) No, I just line the bottoms of the pans with parchment.

      Hope this helps!

  • Regan

    I made this cake and my entire family loved it. That was six months ago and they keep asking for it again so i am making it this weekend. I did have one suggestion… before pouring the glaze on I kinda stabbed the cakes with a chopstick/kabob stick and it really allowed the glaze to soak into the cake… really yummy!