Today my beautiful twin sister and I are celebrating our 25th Birthday! We are officially a quarter-century old! It’s going to be a great day, I’m just sad we’re not able to be together today. It’s pretty special and fun to share a birthday with someone, especially my sister who I care so much about! Happy Birthday Liz! Love you!
Our Mom always made birthdays special for us individually growing up, including making us each our very own favorite cakes. Every year Liz requests my Mom’s famous German Chocolate Cake, while I always request a Carrot Cake! I think my siblings always loved our birthday because they got a little slice of both types of delicious cake! Today I’m happy to share The Ultimate, Best EVER, Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting! Throw every other carrot cake recipe away because this one is the best, and I’ll tell you why….
Jeff makes fun of me because I always eat my slice of cake starting at the back. My reasoning is completely logical. The back is where the most frosting is! That leads me to the first reason that this cake is The Ultimate Carrot Cake; it has THREE layers….which means frosting between not two, but THREE layers of cake! Extra frosting on my cake is key to a very happy birthday for me!
(*As a side note, this cake can be made with just two layers, but c’mon, who wants two layers when you can have three?)
Another reason this is the Ultimate Carrot Cake is the ingredients. This cake is chock-full of all the things that make the perfect carrot cake including buttermilk, crushed pineapple, raisins, and pecans. You can also choose to leave out the raisins and/or pecans and put pecans on the outside of the cake instead, like I did! Sometimes carrot cake can be dense and thick but this makes the most moist, light and delicious cake ever!
Another reason this is the best Carrot Cake ever is that the recipe was originally adapted from The Essential Baker, so you know it‘s a classic!
If for nothing else, make this cake just so you can smother this delicious cream cheese frosting all over it!
*Makes a 2 or 3 layer cake (Two thick layers or three thin layers)
For the cake:
1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup canola oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup crushed pineapple, drained
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 lb. finely grated carrots (about 2 1/2 cups)
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
1 cup golden raisins (optional)
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3-4 cups confectioners’ sugar to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.Prepare two (or three, for three skinny layers) 9-inch cake pans by lightly coating with cooking spray and lining with parchment paper.
Beat the eggs, sugar, brown sugar, oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and pineapple together in a large bowl.
In another bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt and nutmeg.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until fully incorporated. Fold in the carrots, pecans and raisins just until evenly distributed throughout the batter.
Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake on the center oven rack until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean:
About 30-40 minutes for two 9” cake pans or 25-30 minutes for three 9” cake pans
Cool cakes in their pans for at least 15 minutes before removing them. Then, remove them from the pans and peel off the parchment paper. Make sure the cakes are completely cooled before frosting and assembling them.
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
Beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Add vanilla and beat. Beat in sugar, one cup at a time, until frosting has the consistency you desire. You may not need to add all of the sugar.
To assemble the cake:
Place the bottom layer on a cardboard round, cake platter or other serving service. Scoop about 1/2 cup of the cream cheese frosting onto the bottom cake layer. Spread the frosting thinly and evenly over the surface. Carefully place the second layer on top. Scoop another 1/2 cup of the frosting on the top of the second cake layer and spread evenly over the surface. Carefully place the final layer on top. Scoop the rest of the frosting onto the top of the cake. Carefully spread evenly, easing the frosting down the sides of the cake. Spread around the sides of the cake, adding more as needed. Place chopped pecans along sides of cake if desired.
Once completely frosted, chill the cake to help it firm up before slicing.
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