Classic Carrot Cake

Recipe byClémence Gossett

Let’s be real; carrot cake, like Red Velvet and the occasional smother over Zucchini bread, is all about perfecting the vessel for what we’re all after: Cream Cheese Frosting. I like this earthy, tender and not-too-sweet carrot cake studded with pistachios and golden raisins (totally optional for purists) because it can hold up to a serious slathering of frosting while staying light and fluffy.

We call out for White Whole Wheat flour in this recipe, but if you can get your hands on Grist & Toll’s sweet & soft stone-milled Sonora whole grain flour (we just got a fresh shipment in at the school) it’ll make the cake shine.

Print this recipe

Ingredients

Classic Carrot Cake

2 cups Vegetable oil
2-3/4 cups Sugar
4 Eggs
3 cups All purpose flour
1 cup White whole wheat or Sonora flour
1 Tbsp + 2 tsps Ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ground cardamom
1-1/2 tsps Baking soda
1/2 tsp Baking powder
1 Zested orange
1 tsp Kosher salt
1 cup Raisins (golden or Thompson) (optional)
1 cup Chopped, lightly toasted pistachios (optional)
4 cups Grated carrots (about 1 lb)

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F. Line just the bottoms of two 8" cake pans with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together your oil, sugar and eggs. Add the remaining ingredients and fold together until just combined.
  3. Divide the batter between the two cake pans. Bake for 45-50 minutes. Let the cakes cool in their pans for about 20 minutes. Release the edges of the cakes with an offset spatula or butter knife and invert cakes. Let them cool completely for at least 4 hours.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 lb. Cream cheese
6 ounces Butter, at room temperature
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
5 cups Powdered sugar
  1. Cream everything together until smooth.

Assembly

  1. Once the cakes have cooled, you're ready to assemble! Divide the buttercream into two bowls, setting one aside for later. You're going to save half of it for frosting the outside of your cake- and you don't want it to get crumbs while you're filling the insides of the layers.
  2. Split each cake in half using a bread knife. Place one of the layers on an 8" cardboard cake circle, or directly onto the platter or plate you will be serving the cake on.
  3. Spread 1/3 of the frosting from one of your bowls over the bottom layer of cake. Place the next layer on top and repeat until all the layers are stacked. I find it helpful at this stage to chill the cake for about 30 minutes.
  4. Spread the remaining frosting using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon on the sides of the cake, then the top. Be careful to not press against the cake, but try to spread the frosting by hovering over the frosting rather than scraping against the sides.