NOT GONNA LIE, IT’S THE BEST CARROT CAKE EVER

by Michel Van Devender

I know, I know, I always say my recipes are the BEST (insert whatever it is I’m making and sharing)! But, they really are… LOL! And I’m not going to lie, this carrot cake is the best carrot cake, ever! I promise you’ll thank me later for this recipe. It’s most definitely the yummiest one I’ve ever had the pleasure to experience. And, it will most definitely be an experience where you want to savor each and every bite. 

After nearly 40 years of cooking (yes, I made my kitchen debut at the ripe young age of 12), I consider myself to know a thing or two about cooking and baking. And let me be 1000% honest here, most of my culinary delight revolves around being an enthusiastic and passionate connoisseur of food. I’ve always said I love baking because I love eating baked goods. So I’ve spent years honing my skills so I can relish in the consumption.

Case in point, take the carrot cake. I would’ve never considered it to be my favorite cake; however, I seem to stay surrounded by people who name carrot cake as their top favored cake. To name a few, my dad, my brother, my youngest son as well as many friends, are huge fans. If you’re in my circle and it’s your favorite, I’ve probably baked this cake for you for your birthday. And I have to say, over the years, carrot cake has really grown to be one of my favorites too. That is saying a lot for this historically queen of all things chocolate!

I’ve tried many different carrot cake recipes over the years. My sweet brother always reminds me of what he considers to be my failed attempts. I would totally discount that notion. You see, he’s a carrot cake purist, the more traditional versions suit him best. So imagine his utter and shocking disappointment, and he’s always one I can count on for honesty, when I added orange zest to a carrot cake. It was actually a tasty cake, but definitely not to his taste buds’ liking.

This cake though, a Southern Living recipe, seems to hit all the marks… more traditional, but with the added depth, sweetness and richness of the caramelly buttermilk glaze. It’s also packed with all the chunky ingredients like pineapple, walnuts, coconut and golden raisins. I’ve modified the recipe a bit, reflected below. I basically cut the buttermilk glaze recipe in half, as there’s a point when enough is enough and half of the glaze is enough. I also added golden raisins as the original recipe doesn’t include. Lastly, I increased the frosting recipe by 50% because prior to doing so I always ran short. There’s nothing more frustrating in the cake baking world than trying to stretch an inadequate amount of frosting. If you want to refer to the original recipe, it is linked above.

Oh, and a word of caution, some friendly advice from a fellow cook/baker… when you’re mixing your cake, do not talk on the phone! I recently made this cake for my youngest son’s birthday party and accidentally omitted the coconut. YIKES! I was totally distracted, chatting it up on the phone and completely forgot. I didn’t say a word and nobody knew or noticed, but me. The cake was still super yummy, but hey, I prefer it with the coconut.

So here you go, here it is… the best carrot cake ever! Whether you bake it for the carrot cake lover in your life or for a holiday celebration, I hope you love this cake as much as my family and friends do! Let me know how you like it. We get a lot of satisfaction knowing we’re bringing some love to you in the way of cooking and baking!

🖤💙,

P.S.

If you’re a citrus dessert lover, you’ll want to try our lemon pound cake recipe too –The Best Lemon Pound Cake, Like EverAnother “best” and family favorite, also set to be baked this month for my oldest and middle sons’ birthdays. That’s right, three sons, all born in April, and the next two are back to back birthdays. So that may mean two lemon pound cakes! Double the cake joy!

PLEASE DON'T FORGET THE COCONUT!!!!

The Best Carrot Cake (Adapted from Southern Living)

Print
Serves: 8-10
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat

Ingredients

  • CAKE LAYERS
  • 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
  • 1/2 cup flaked coconut
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • BUTTERMILK GLAZE
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 (8 ounce packages) cream cheese, softened
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Line 3 (9-inch) round cake pans with parchment paper. Lightly grease and flour pans and paper. Set aside.

3. Stir together first 4 ingredients. Set aside.

4. Beat eggs and next 4 ingredients with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth. Slowly add flour mixture on low speed until smooth. Fold in carrot and next 4 ingredients. Pour evenly into 3 cake pans.

5. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until wood pick inserted in middle comes out clean.

6. During last 15 minutes of cake baking, work on glaze. Bring first 5 ingredients to boil in heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat, stirring often for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

7. Remove baked layers from oven and drizzle glaze evenly over each layer. Cool in pans on wire racks for 15 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks.

8. Towards the end of cooling, prepare frosting. Beat butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium speed until creamy. I like mine extra fluffy so I do for several minutes using a stand mixer. Add powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Beat at high speed for another minute or so or until smooth.

9. When layers are completely cooled (I sometimes put my in the fridge or freezer to speed process), spread cream cheese frosting in between layers, on top and sides of cake.

10. Enjoy the best carrot cake ever!

Notes

We store in the fridge, but like ours room temperature before serving.

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