Lovely Spring blooms are appearing across open fields, adorable lambs are leaping through green pastures, and that beautiful sunshine is finally here to stay. I think it's safe to say, spring has FINALLY arrived in Lancaster! With April already here and Easter right around the corner, we decided to break out our cutest apron, grab a spatula, and get baking!
Inspired by this blissful season we wanted to create a treat that encapsulates all things spring, and what can be more spring-like then carrot cake! So we broke out the family recipe cards and went for this drool worthy classic.
Now I know what you're thinking, a carrot cake recipe for Easter? Real original. But hear us out, this isn't just any carrot cake recipe, it's THE BEST one! Or at least we think so. Soft layers of cake with hints of brown sugar and cinnamon, topped with a deliciously silky cream cheese frosting. What more could you ask for? Plus it has THREE cups of carrots! So it's basically healthy right? 😉
Let's get started!
Just like any good cake recipe were starting with the basics. First things first, grab your flour, salt, & baking soda and mix them together in a medium sized mixing bowl. Then add in that delicious cinnamon for that extra touch of flavor. When it comes to spice, this recipe keeps things pretty simple, which helps keep the carrots front and center!
In another mixing bowl, you're going to combine the brown sugar, eggs & canola oil or "salad oil" as the original recipe calls for. (You know the recipe has been around for awhile when they say salad oil 😄) After mixing well, add in the grated carrots...You know, if you can still move your arms after grating 3 cups of carrots! Then combine the wet & dry ingredients and stir together.
After mixing up all that goodness, pour your batter into your greased baking pan. The original recipe calls for a 9x13" pan, but if you're feeling fancy you can use two round cake pans instead. **Just note, this recipe is really best for a sheet cake because of how soft and moist it is, you may experience a little difficulty with stacking a layer cake and may have to add in some wooden or plastic support rods.
After pouring that glorious batter into your pan, stick it in you're preheated oven and bake for 35 minutes. (or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean) This cake does get pretty dark in color so don't be alarmed if you see it turning a little darker then other recipes.
After pulling it out of the oven, set it aside and get started on the icing. This recipe is a little different in the fact that you want to spread the icing over it while it's still warm. **If you plan on stacking it instead of using a sheet pan, do not put the icing on while its still warm, wait until it has COMPLETELY cooled. Or the top layer will slide right off, trust us you don't want that 😆. But if you've gone the traditional route and used a sheet pan, putting the icing on while its still warm is the key to getting that perfectly smooth finish.
Now let's get started on the icing. In a large mixing bowl, cream together your room temperature cream cheese & butter until smooth. Make sure the constancy is lump free before moving on! After that you can add in the vanilla & powdered sugar and whip it up to a delightful finish. We highly recommend doubling the icing recipe if you are stacking your cake, or if you just reallllyy like icing. Because let's be real, who doesn't!
After successfully icing your cake, sprinkle the chopped walnuts over top. Or feel free to add any fun decorations or garnishes while you're at it! We went with some Mini Cadbury Eggs for a springtime touch.
The only thing left to do is enjoy your masterpiece!
2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 cups canola oil
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking soda
2 cups flour
3 cups grated carrots
Cream Cheese Icing:
1 8oz. package cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick of butter or margarine, room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
cadbury mini eggs, for garnish (optional)
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13" baking pan (or two round cake pans) with nonstick cooking spray. (Or line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper) and set aside.
2. In a medium mixing bowl combine the flour, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda until well combined. Set aside.
3. In a separate bowl whisk together the brown sugar, eggs, and canola oil. Add in grated carrots and mix well.
4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just combined.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool slightly.
6. For the frosting: Cream together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add in the powdered sugar and vanilla extract and continue mixing, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
7. While the cake is still warm, spread icing over top (if making a layer cake, DO NOT ice when warm, wait until the cake has cooled) and garnish with chopped walnuts and mini Cadbury eggs.