Carrot Cake is a family favorite! I have always been a fan, but this cake is the perfect combination of buttermilk, cinnamon, coconut, carrots and pineapple.
If you like nuts, add the walnuts into the batter. There are too many people in my family that do not like nuts. (How is this even possible?) I choose to add the walnuts on the outside of the cake. I put plenty of frosting in between the layers for those who do not like nuts. Give it a try this Easter and let me know how it turns out @dinasdiner on Instagram.
How to Make Carrot Cake
1. Prepare the cake pans. To make a layered cake, the cake pans need to be greased, floured and then lined with parchment paper. There is something so satisfying about popping a baked cake out of the pan and onto the cooling rack and then peeling the parchment off! The cake looks perfect!
Greasing and flouring the cake pans is easy to do. Grab a paper towel. Fold it into a four inch square and dip it in some softened butter or shortening. Use this paper towel to smear the shortening all over the pan. Get in the corners and up the sides.
Preparing the Cake Pans is key
Take 1/4 cup of flour and pour it into the greased pan. Bang the pan on the counter as you roll the flour around the pan. You want it to stick on every piece of butter or shortening. If you have missed a spot, no worries! Take the greased paper towel and touch up the spots and then dust flour over them. Throw the left over flour away in the trash.
Now take the cake pan and lay it on the parchment paper. Use a pencil and draw a circle around the pan. This will be your guide. I like to cut all my parchment paper at the same time. My daughter finds this too difficult and cuts them one at a time. Cut inside the pencil line. You need to do this so your parchment will fit inside your pan. You measured the outside of the pan and you need to cut a little away in order for it to fit the inside.
2. Open the can of crushed pineapple and pour into a strainer. Use a spoon to turn the pineapple a few times to let go of the juice. Do this while you prepare the other ingredients.
3. Peel and grate the carrots. Using whole carrots is the best way to make this cake. You can purchase the already shredded carrots, but these are hard and dried out and will add the same texture to your cake.
4. Beat the eggs with a mixer until they are light yellow.
5. Add the sugars, oil and vanilla to the eggs.
6. Put the flour, cinnamon, salt, soda in a bowl and mix together. You can add other spices if you want. I like the light flavor of the cinnamon all by itself.
7. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture 1/2 cup at a time. Alternate the dry ingredients with 2 Tbsps. of buttermilk. It is important to finish with the buttermilk, not dry ingredients.
8. Pour the coconut, shredded carrots and drained pineapple into the carrot cake batter and mix gently until everything is coated.
9. Pour equal amounts of batter into each cake pan. A kitchen scale is very helpful to make sure there is the same amount in each pan. Place a bowl on the scale, zero it out, then add some batter. Add more dough if needed to round it off to the nearest ounce. Then put this in one pan and measure the same amount for the next pan. If I have left over batter, I start the process over again until it is distributed equally among the pans.
You can also make this carrot cake in a 9 X 13 pan if you do not want to frost a layered cake.
10. Put filled cake pans in a preheated 350° oven and bake for 35 minutes. Keep an eye on the cakes! Sometimes the tops of the cakes start browning too much. I take a loose sheet of tin foil and lay it over the top of each pan about 20 minutes into baking. Leave it on until the timer goes off.
11. Once the timer goes off, take the pans out of the oven and put them on cooling racks. I set a timer for 10 minutes to let the cakes cool just enough to be set and come out of the pans without crumbling. When the timer goes off, use a butter knife or an offset spatula in between the cake and the pan. Go around the edges carefully to loosen the cake from the pan. Do this on all pans.
12. Gently put your hand on the cake and turn the pan over. Lay the cake down on the cooling rack. Or if you have enough cooling racks, place the cooling rack on the top of the cake pan and turn over. Once you have laid the cooling rack, with the cake, back on the counter, the pan should lift right off.
Let the cake cool for 5 minutes before peeling off the parchment paper.
13. When the cakes have cooled completely, frost with cream cheese frosting. If desired, add chopped walnuts to the sides. Delicious! I want to hear back from you if you make this!!
Instructions to Roll the Cake in Nuts below the recipe*
Let me know on Instagram or Pinterest if you make this.
Post a picture and tag me @dinasdiner. I want to know how it turns out.
- 20 oz Crushed Pineapple
- 2 Cups Carrots (About 4 large Carrots)
- 3 Eggs
- 1 Cup White Sugar
- 1 Cup Brown Sugar
- 3/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
- 2 tsp. Vanilla
- 2 Cups Flour
- 2 tsp. Cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. Salt
- 2 tsp. Baking Soda
- 3/4 Cup Buttermilk
- 1 Cup Coconut (I add two cups)
- 2 Cups Walnuts (2 Cups more if you are going to roll the cake in nuts)
Cream Cheese Frostings
- 8 oz. Cream Cheese
- 1/2 Cup Butter
- 6 Cups Powdered Sugar
- 1/4 – 1/2 Cup Milk
- Preheat the oven to 350°.
- Grease, flour and line cake pans with parchment paper.
- Drain the crushed pineapple.
- Peel and grate the carrots.
- Beat eggs until light yellow.
- Add the sugars, oil and vanilla.
- Sift the dry ingredients together.
- Pour 1/2 cup of dry ingredients into the batter and then alternate with the buttermilk. End with the buttermilk.
- Add carrots, coconut and pineapple.
- Mix on low speed until everything is well incorporated.
- Pour equal amounts of batter into prepared pans.
- Bake for 35 minutes.
- Cool for 10 minutes.
- Use an offset spatula to loosen the cake from the pan and turn them over onto the cooling rack.
- Peel off parchment paper and cool completely.
- Frost with cream cheese frosting and decorate with walnuts.
Cream Cheese Frosting
- Beat cream cheese and butter.
- Add powdered sugar, one cup at a time.
- Add 1 Tbsp. of milk as needed to get the consistency you want.
- Beat for four minutes until light and fluffy.
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*Rolling the Cake in Nuts
Try and picture yourself picking up the entire cake, frosted on the sides and in between the layers. Now roll it, lengthwise, along a bed of chopped nuts on a cookie sheet. One half has no nuts for the top half of the cake and the other half has the chopped nuts.
I hope I have explained the instructions below well enough so you can try this technique. I tried it for the first time when I made the cake pictured above. It worked like a charm! I will never go back to sticking a few nuts on the outside with my hands.
THIS METHOD ONLY WORKS IF YOU HAVE FROZEN THE CAKE LAYERS BEFORE FROSTING THEM!!!
1. Chop the nuts.
2. Sprinkle them onto half a cookie sheet, lengthwise.
3. Use a cardboard cake round and put some frosting on top. This will make the cake stick to the round. Then put your first cake layer on it.
4. Frost the first layer.
5. Put the second layer on top and frost it.
6. Lay the third layer on top and DO NOT FROST!
7. Frost the outside of the cake with plenty of frosting.
8. Put a cardboard cake round on the top of the cake.
9. Pick up the entire cake and push the bottom and top cardboard rounds together to create some pressure. You want everything to stay together as you roll the cake.
10. Half the cookie sheet has nuts running lengthwise and the other half does not.
11. Roll the side of the cake over the nuts down the cookie sheet.
11. Move back to where you started and roll the rest of the cake in the nuts.
12. Now frost the the top of the cake.