A frosted carrot cake.

Last week I found a stockpile of carrots in the vegetable bin of my fridge. Before setting to work slicing and dicing, staining my cutting board, dulling my knife, and tearing up my uncalloused hands, I paused and, for once, used my brain.

Out came the shredder attachment to my food processor and in about 30 seconds, my pound of carrots had transformed into perfect little shreds. I didn’t even peel them. After a little scrub, down the chute they went. Magic.

With prep work done, I turned to a carrot cake recipe I had saved for years. It appeared in Fine Cooking magazine in 2004 in an article called “Carrot Cake, Perfected.” Why I waited five years to give the recipe a go is beyond me. It is called Ultimate Carrot Cake for a reason. I hope you love it as much as I.

How to Make the Ultimate Carrot Cake, Step by Step

Gather your ingredients:

Ingredients to make carrot cake.

Place the dry ingredients in a large bowl:

Dry ingredients for carrot cake in a bowl.

Whisk them together:

A bowl of whisked together dry ingredients to make carrot cake.

No need to peel the carrots, but trim the ends away.

Carrots trimmed on a cutting board.

Shred the carrots using the shredder attachment of your food processor or a box grater:

Shredded carrots in a food processor.

Add them to the bowl and toss to coat:

Shredded carrots in a bowl of dry ingredients to make carrot cake.

Then add the beaten eggs and oil:

A bowl of unmixed carrot cake batter.

Stir together until you have a smooth batter:

A bowl of mixed carrot cake batter.

Transfer to a greased and parchment-lined 9×13-inch pan or two 8-inch pans:

A 9x13-inch pan filled with carrot cake batter.

Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean:

A just baked carrot cake on a cooling rack.

Let cool completely before frosting. Meanwhile, make the frosting:

Ingredients to make whipped cream-cream cheese frosting.

First, place cold cream cheese, sugar, and a pinch of sea salt in a stand mixer.

A bowl of cream cheese and sugar attached to a stand mixer.

Beat until light and creamy:

Cream cheese beaten in a stand mixer.

Then add the cold heavy cream and vanilla:

Heavy cream, cream cheese, and vanilla in a stand mixer.

Beat until thick and creamy:

Just-beaten cream cheese-whipped cream frosting.

Once the cake is cool, you can frost it:

A big blog of cream cheese frosting in the center of a just-baked carrot cake.
A frosted carrot cake.

A slice of carrot cake.

Here are some old photos of the cake baked in round pans:

carrot cakes
A sliced carrot cake on a board.
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Ultimate carrot cake with cream cheese frosting

Ultimate Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Source: Fine Cooking Magazine Article: “Carrot Cake, Perfected” by Gregory Case

Note: I have made some modifications to the original recipe. Changes include using a different method to mix the batter, using a different frosting, and using a different method to frost the cake. To find the original, click here.


For the cake:

  • Softened butter, for the pan
  • 1 lb. carrots
  •  2 1/4 cups (295 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon (7 g) salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups (315 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) packed brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature, beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups (264 g) vegetable or grapeseed oil

For the frosting:

  • 8 oz  (226 g) cream cheese, cold
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
  • 2/3 cup (140 g) heavy cream
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


Make the cake:

  1. Position a rack in the bottom third of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9×13-inch heavy-duty metal cake pan or two 8-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper for easy removal. 
  2. In a food processor, using the shredder attachment, shred the carrots.  
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and sugars. Add the grated carrots and toss to coat. Add the beaten eggs and oil, and stir with a spatula until evenly mixed. 
  4. Scrape the batter into the prepared 9×13-inch pan or divide the batter among the two 8-inch pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 45 – 50 minutes for the 9×13-inch pan, about 30 minutes for the round pans. Let cool on a rack to room temperature.
  5. If you baked round pans, halve each one crosswise to make 4 round layers total.
  6. To make the frosting: Beat the cold cream cheese and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the heavy cream, a pinch of salt, and the vanilla. Beat again until light and fluffy. 

Frost the cake:

  1. If using a 9×13-inch pan: Scrape the frosting onto the center of the cake. With an offset spatula, if you have one, spread the frosting evenly over the surface. 
  2. If using round pans: Set one layer on a plate or cake platter. Top with one quarter (roughly) of the frosting, spreading to cover. Top with another layer of cake and repeat this frosting-spreading-layering process until each layer of cake has a nice layer of frosting.
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American