My Ultimate Carrot Cake first made an appearance on ZoëBakes in 2008, and it has remained one of my most popular posts. I have made this carrot cake many, many times since then and tweaked the recipe, as I am apt to do, every time I make it. After all the experiments, this is the recipe I have come to like the best. The changes are subtle, because the original was pretty spot on, but this version wins.
You can watch me make, bake and decorate this carrot cake in my Instagram video.
Ultimate Carrot Cake
Even better than before, and that is saying something.
4 cups (480g) finely grated carrots
2 1/3 cup (280g) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmegs
1 1/4 cups (250g) granulated sugar
1 cup (200g) lightly packed brown sugar
1 1/4 cup (300ml) canola oil
4 extra large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla
Finely grated zest of 1 large orange
1 1/2 cups (150g) sweetened shredded coconut, plus more for decorating the outside
1 cup chopped dried fruit (apricots and cherries)
Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 1/2 pounds (680g) cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups (330g) unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons pure vanilla
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract (optional)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
5 cups (600g) confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons Lyle’s Golden Syrup
2 cups sweetened shredded coconut for pressing on the outside of the cake
Sprinkles, icing sugar and dragees for decorating
To make the cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease two 8 x 3 inch cake pans and line with parchment.
Using the blade on the food processor, chop the carrots more finely.
In a small bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and spices. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, brown sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Then gently whisk in the dry ingredients.
Add the carrots and dried fruit.
Fold in the coconut.
Divide the batter into the two prepared pans and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.
Let cakes cool completely in the pans on a wire rack.
Make the icing by blending the cream cheese, butter, vanilla, lemon extract, lemon juice, confectioners’ sugar and Lyle’s Golden Syrup, until smooth. See my Instagram video for helpful hints on working with cream cheese icing.
Put one of the layers of cake on a Wilton 8-Inch Cake Circle, 12-Pack and then top it with 1 cup of the cream cheese icing.
Cover the cake with a thin crumb coat (watch video for crumb coat instructions).
Then finish with a smooth coating of the cream cheese icing (watch video for smooth icing instructions). I ran my spatula tip around the icing to create the swirls, but we’ll be pressing coconut on the outside, so don’t worry about getting this effect.
Before moving the cake to the platter, lift it and gently press the shredded coconut onto the top and sides.
Use a sharp knife to cut the cake. This cake is wonderful the next day or even the following. Just wrap it well and refrigerate….If there is any left!